Council’s Covid response continues with community hub opening

Published Wednesday 28 July 2021 at 13:54

A new community help hub in Blackburn town centre was formally opened today (Wednesday, July 28th) as Blackburn with Darwen Council continues its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ribbon was cut on the hub – based in the Mall opposite Marks & Spencer – this afternoon and it is now available to offer free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing as well as a range of support to local residents to move forward with their lives in a variety of ways.

Rapid tests using lateral flow devices and community collect of rapid test kits will be available on site 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

The testing operation replaces the rapid test site at King George’s Hall, which closed yesterday (July 27th).

The opening of the hub comes as the move to step 4 of the Government’s roadmap brings a drive for everyone to take responsibility for their own actions and to think of others.

The Council is asking residents to do the right thing by continuing to ‘Test and Go’ with the convenient town centre location perfectly placed for people to get a rapid test before visiting the shops, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, attending matches at Ewood Park or before meeting up with friends and family outside their household.

There are also still plenty of places to pick up test kits from across the borough in person as well as online. For all the latest information on testing visit our testing web page.

As well as its testing offer, the community hub will also provide a physical location for the BwD Help Hub which has been offering support to people throughout the pandemic.

Ongoing support available includes:

  • finance, benefits and debt management
  • mental health support
  • wellbeing and loneliness
  • learning, training and employment
  • getting online and using technology
  • access to food and essentials

Residents are invited to drop in to discuss any issues they might have. If there’s nobody available, staff will arrange for someone to make contact when it’s convenient.

The Help Hub will also still be contactable over the phone or via online, with a range of local organisations also remaining available for support. More information here.

In Darwen, the Work at Over Darwen House venue – which has been operating as a community collect venue for rapid test kits for the past few weeks – will start offering tests on site to people again. Staff will also be trained up to offer advice and guidance and signpost people to support to help them move forward with their lives.

As part of the next phase of its coronavirus response, the Council is also launching a programme of targeted community testing, including a mobile bus going round the borough to bring testing to people’s local areas. It is currently situated at the Darwen End Coach Car Park at Ewood Park. Visit our testing page for times.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Mohammed Khan, said:

I was delighted to cut the ribbon on this fantastic new community venue. The government has made it clear that as we moved to Step 4, they are expecting us to take responsibility for our own actions and encouraging us to think of others. Our residents have shown how willing they are to do the right thing throughout the pandemic and I’m sure will continue to do so. We hope the opening of the community help hub will make their ability to Test and Go to keep themselves, their families, friends and colleagues safe even more convenient.

And of course now having a physical location for our BwD Help Hub – which has done so much to help so many – will enable us to keep that support up and help many of our residents keep moving forward with their lives in a variety of ways.

Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health, said:

While we have done very well in driving down rates locally, Covid hasn’t gone away and the pandemic is not yet over. We need to move forward with caution and continue to take precautions as we mix with others, particularly vulnerable people.

The hubs in Blackburn and Darwen will play a vital role in of our ongoing programme of testing, as well as supporting our residents through the next stages of the pandemic. This alongside the basics of good hand hygiene, face coverings in certain situations, and respecting anyone who feels more comfortable continuing to keep a safe social distance continue to be our best tactics against the virus. As well as, of course, getting two doses of the vaccine.

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