STAFF at a new borough community 'help hub' will make weekly phone calls to the isolated and lonely during the coronavirus pandemic.

They will also organise deliveries of food and other essential supplies to the vulnerable and those left in need by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is the latest local authority to set up a community hub which includes four virtual neighbourhood centres to co-ordinate local delivery of assistance.

Town Hall staff are working with the voluntary, community and faith sectors and public health organisations to set up the central point to support borough residents.

The new BwD Help Hub went live on Thursday.

It will organise deliveries of food and essential supplies to people in need, provide information and advice and provided someone to talk to for those stranded at home.

Staff working through the Help Hub will make regular weekly telephone calls to keep isolated people’s spirits up.

Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “The current situation is a very difficult one and we find ourselves in unprecedented circumstances. It’s important that as a community we pull together to help our residents to improve their resilience as we face periods of social distancing and isolation.

“We can provide a co-ordinated support network to people who have no means of accessing food or other essentials, and help meet other needs including supporting mental wellbeing.

“The government has asked councils to prioritise those more vulnerable residents who need to ‘shield’ themselves due to particular health conditions. We would urge these people to contact us through the Help Hub.”

People can get in touch by ringing 01254 588111 or filling in the online form at'

A team of council staff will assess people's needs and cases will be prioritised and passed on to neighbourhood hubs supporting residents in: Blackburn North, Blackburn East, Blackburn West and Darwen.

Staffed by council employees and volunteers, these will co-ordinate help for residents in their areas.

Support will be available Monday to Friday,between 9am and 5pm and from 9am to noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sayyed Osman, the council's director of adults services, said: “We have been working hard over the past week to put in place a system to help the most vulnerable people, those with no other sources of help, to get the support they need."