Help available for BwD residents with Long Covid

Published Thursday 9 September 2021 at 11:42

People who have been suffering the after-effects of a Covid infection are being offered help through a new Long Covid support group.

Tutors from Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Adult Learning service have worked with the Covid Community Champions team and re:fresh service to develop an four-week programme that addresses various aspects of health and wellbeing after Covid illness.

The free weekly sessions will take place in Blackburn Library on Wednesdays between 1pm and 2.30pm, starting on 22 September.

In groups of up to eight people, sessions will explore the support needs of Long Covid sufferers, including mental health and wellbeing guidance, alternative therapies, and advice to managing symptoms day-to-day.

Blackburn with Darwen residents of all ages who have suffered Long Covid symptoms for 12 weeks or more are welcome to attend. Their experiences of the illness will be used to shape the holistic programme to make sure it suits their needs.

Sayyed Osman, Strategic Director of Adults & Health, said:

Other areas have developed support groups for people suffering with Long Covid, which have brought about real benefits for them.

We’ve worked with neighbouring boroughs to look at what worked for them, to develop our own plans for a Long Covid support group.

It’s peer support, giving sufferers the chance to connect and share their experiences with others. It’s always helpful to know that you’re not alone when experiencing difficulty like this, and I’d encourage anyone who has been struggling after illness with Covid to consider getting involved.

It’s estimated that 1 in every 10 people who test positive for Covid experience symptoms for more than 12 weeks. Long Covid symptoms include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Breathlessness
  • Problems with memory and concentrating
  • Joint pain
  • Insomnia
  • Tinnitus and earache
  • Depression and other mental health problems.

Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Coun Mohammed Khan CBE, said:

Blackburn with Darwen has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with more people testing positive for Covid in the last 18 months than any other area of England.

A range of factors have made our local population more susceptible to Covid infection, including levels of deprivation, higher numbers of people working in frontline roles, a large BAME population, and shared households.

Globally we’re still learning about the long-term effects of Covid. I’m really pleased that we can use government funding to support local Long Covid sufferers and help them find ways to ease their symptoms and, hopefully, get back to better health.

To find out more and secure a place on the BwD Long Covid peer support group, residents should call 01254 588111 or email to have a chat with a member of team in advance of the first session on 22 September.

An online course is being planned for later this year for anyone who’d prefer not to meet in person. For more details, email the address above.

Blackburn with Darwen’s Long Covid peer support group has been funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government through the borough’s Covid Community Champions programme.

Health Watch Blackburn with Darwen is currently carrying out some research into the experiences of local people with Long Covid. They’re keen to hear from people of all ages through a short online survey. Click here to complete it now.

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