Dozens of people including business owners, council leaders and MPs came together for the annual 'Amazing Accrington' event on Friday afternoon to discuss the impact of the coronavirus crisis on businesses across Hyndburn.

Hosted over a Zoom video conference call, the group were updated on the latest developments in how Hyndburn Borough Council is supporting businesses throughout the pandemic and its plans for future investment.

Councillor Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Council, said: "We have gone through and are going through a very difficult period, but I think there's going to be an even more difficult period as we go through to recovery.

"It's seeing where the council can intervene in partnership... the transition that may have taken a decade is going to happen in six months.

"Across Lancashire and the Lancashire Resilience Forum, we're all working [together] to make sure that protection of public services is delivered.

"Most residents just want their bin emptying, but it's a lot more involved than that, and I know the voluntary sector has played a critical role in stepping up and helping the Hyndburn Hub."

The number of people using the the help hub, launched at the beginning of April, has increased significantly, with over 6000 ill or vulnerable people getting support.

Looking to the future, Cllr Parkinson said he would like to relaunched the Greater Lancashire Plan as soon as possible and work with other Lancashire councils to lobby the national government for a better funding deal.

He added: "Devolution is what the Prime Minister wants, and if we want a devolution deal for Lancashire, it's an elected mayor to make sure we get the maximum amount of public funding for the area."

Also in attendance was Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe, who promised to champion local business owners in parliament and provide support and advice through her constituency office.

She said: "I think we can all say that the Treasury has been very good at assisting businesses throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

"It has provided a £330bn package of loans and guarantees worth about 15 per cent of our GDP.

"The government promised to 'level up' and promised a green agenda, and I think the time is now rather than two or three years down the line.

"We need to start putting the money into people's pockets - we need to get our engineers out there, our plumbers, we need to look at sustainable infrastructure.

"The South will bounce back a lot quicker than the North - we all know that - so we need to make sure that we are properly utilised in the recovery process."