Greater Manchester councils are among 60 local authorities to get a share of a £23million fund to support people who are most at risk of long-term impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The government has allocated £500,000 to Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, which will be used to establish a network of Community Champions. They are set to work with the council to identify barriers to accessing accurate information and to provide tailored support, such as phone calls for people who are digitally excluded, helplines, and linking to GP surgeries.

The funding will also support areas to tackle misinformation and encourage take-up as the vaccination programme expands across the country. The allocation is part of over £7.9 billion government funding provided to councils to help them support their communities during the pandemic and also to help them fight ‘fake covid news’.

The list of Greater Manchester wide allocations is Manchester City Council - £621,000; Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council - £500,000; Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council - £494,567; Bury Metropolitan Council - £467,000.

Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP said: “It is vital that everyone has access to accurate and up to date information about COVID-19. False information about COVID-19 vaccines could cost lives. Today’s funding will help councils and community groups expand some of the excellent work already underway and reach out to their communities to ensure they have the information they need and get their questions answered. Ultimately this funding will help save lives.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to protect the most vulnerable. It is vital higher-risk groups are able to access the advice and information they need whether it’s about testing, accessing the NHS or the benefits of a lifesaving vaccine.

“I’m delighted to see further funding going to local areas to support their communities during this challenging time, and I’m thankful for the continued expertise and dedication of community leaders in spreading the word about our historic vaccination rollout programme across the country.”

Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We want all communities to take up the offer of a free vaccine and I have been working closely with faith and community leaders to ensure those who may be at higher risk of harm from this virus know how they can benefit from a vaccine.

“The expansion of the Community Champions scheme will help everyone get the advice and information they need about COVID-19 vaccines.”