A VITAL service that has dished out more than 30,000 food parcels to struggling families throughout the coronavirus pandemic is to close its doors.

The Blackburn with Darwen Help Hub food warehouse was set up during the opening weeks of the pandemic to offer a lifeline to many who found themselves out of work.

But now, after delivering 32,000 food packages to homes, the service is winding down.

Councillor Phil Riley, executive member for growth and development, said: “We owe Euro Garages a huge debt of thanks for their support in providing us with a warehouse on Frontier Park from which we could operate our temporary BwD Help Hub food warehouse operation.

“Euro Garages also helped us to set up our supply chain, which has seen us distribute a staggering 350 tonnes of food and drink to local people in need.”

Over the last 13 weeks, a 50-strong team of warehouse staff and delivery teams – made up of redeployed council staff – have made daily deliveries to people who cannot go out to buy food and drink and have no other means of support.

And although deliveries of food parcels from the Help Hub are stopping, the hub will continue to support residents across the borough in a variety of ways.

Council teams and local partners will continue to take referrals from the hub to help people recover from the crisis – including financial advice, learning and training programmes, and mental health support.

Zuber Issa, founder and co-CEO of EG Group, which owns Euro Garages, said: “The council has brought together various stakeholders to support the vulnerable during this challenging and unprecedented period.

“As a local business owner, I have been able to give back to my community.

“Moreover, this type of public-private-voluntary sector collaboration delivers many positive outcomes for the people in our area.

“I am proud to have been able to have contributed to the success of the help hub initiative.”

Coun Mustafa Desai, executive member for adult services, added: “The partnerships that have developed over the last three months will continue to be valuable as we support vulnerable people through the recovery phase of the crisis.”