Liverpool 8's response to a coronavirus spike could be a "model for the rest of the country" after the community sprang into action.

In just three critical days, the city council, voluntary, community and faith groups in Toxteth moved from urgent Zoom meetings to a multi-lingual door-knocking campaign to make sure the message got out.

Liverpool's new leader of the city council's Race Equality taskforce, Tracey Gore, who is also director of Steve Biko Housing Association, based in L8, was so impressed by the coordinated response in the area that she said Liverpool could become a "model for the rest of the country" in dealing with localised coronavirus outbreaks.

Tracey told the ECHO: "I've heard from colleagues in Oldham, that just hasn't happened in the Greater Manchester area - the way the messaging got out in L8, it's a model for the rest of the country.

"Liverpool's Director of Public Health Matt Ashton said it's old school public health, it's what we should be doing."

'It all started Thursday morning'

Theresa MacDermott, manager of L8 A Better Place, based at the Kuumba Imani centre on Princes Avenue in Toxteth, and a resident of Granby, which is in the affected area, was one of the people out knocking on doors from to let fellow residents know of the risk.

She told the ECHO: "It all started Thursday morning when the Our Liverpool team - a community development team working with asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants in Liverpool - called a Zoom meeting and put it out to people about the increase in infections.

"We discussed ways of getting the message out and how to do it without being alarmist but also to make sure people knew it was serious."

The news came shortly before Eid, one of the most important celebrations in the calendar for the area's Muslim community.

Theresa said: "We were aware that Eid was happening and that's three or four days of celebration, and I thought 'oh no, it will be really difficult for Muslim communities - it's a bit like saying on Christmas Eve you can't visit your mum and dad' - so I thought that's really difficult, but we need to get the message out quickly."

The Our Liverpool team decided to spread the word by knocking on doors, street by street.

Theresa, who also joined in the door knocking, said: "What was great was that everyone's door that I knocked on, they were all like 'okay, thanks for letting us know' - some looked really worried, some were okay - I was saying please let everyone in the area know.

"I was sort of just doing it in an informal way, saying 'sorry it's just before Eid but we're trying to keep people safe', and people were really kind of grateful basically.

"The funny thing was I could see the news going ahead of me throughout Granby - I knocked on one door and the person said, I've just received a call from a friend further up Granby, they said somebody had been knocking on the door, which was me - the message was getting there faster than I could walk along the street."

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Princes Park ward is a diverse area, where at last census count in 2011, nearly one in four people spoke English as a second language. If the message was to get out, it would need to be as easy to access as possible.

Soon, local residents were volunteering to translate the public health advice into different languages, and by Saturday morning the Our Liverpool team had a dozen videos in different languages ready to release on social media.

Theresa said: "Different community members in the past have been used for translations and so there were people offering to do that - for example, there's a fairly new Columbian community in L8 and someone said they would do the Spanish required for that.

"Saeed Ibrahim from the Somali community centre did the Somali version as he was worried to make sure the message got out, now there's an even wider network, with speakers in everything from Spanish and Turkish, to Eritrean and Kurdish.

"By Friday evening and Saturday morning, we were all sending the videos out to all and sundry.

"It really shows how a community can stop stuff together, working alongside the public services.

Theresa said the fact of going out door to door really helped spread the message, as people were responding rapidly to being told in person or over the phone, rather than simply through seeing an announcement on social media.

She said: "Word of mouth was really important - I think it made a difference, I was also ringing friends and neighbours, and once person I spoke to, she said it was much more impactful me telling her on the phone than if she'd seen it on Facebook - and I thought that's interesting, just generally a face to face or direct call makes a difference."

Ellen Kiely from the Our Liverpool told the ECHO: "The response has been incredible - we could not be more grateful and appreciative - we knew the community was amazing and we knew we had to utilise their skills and knowledge.

"There's no way we could have got information translated in that time frame by ourselves - within 24 to 48 hours we've had these amazing videos that have been viewed so many times.

She added: "What was so nice about it was it was a really community effort. We've done a lot of door knocking - on Thursday nobody knew and yesterday when I went out, a lot of people did so that just shows how successful it's been.

Theresa said: "It all really shows how a community can have an impact and working alongside the public services, we stop stuff and make things happen together."