A LOCAL authority has set aside £1.5million to support a borough’s recovery from coronavirus.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s leader Cllr Mohammed Khan has revealed the allocation in a report to senior colleagues.

But he warns its Executive Board: “Covid-19 will stay with us for many years and we will continue to adjust and adapt as we live alongside the virus and the impact of new variants.”

Cllr Khan says: “We will allocate £1.5m to support sustained recovery, including economic recovery for businesses and the town centres, supporting residents and communities to recover as the area with the highest cumulative rate of cases over the pandemic, and having been impacted by national and local restrictions for most of the last 15 months or so.

“These funds will also be used in our parks and other outdoor spaces and facilities for young people to make sure they are safe and welcoming enabling more people to access the health and wellbeing benefits of the outdoors and stay safe indoors.

“The NHS vaccination programme is going well and we have a strong test and trace system. However, there is still uncertainty on aspects of the virus, including variants and future vaccination requirements, and it is important that we continue to have contingency arrangements in place to meet any unexpected demands."

He reveals a plan to spend an initial £5.2m on coronavirus response in 2012/22 including the £1.5m of recovery funding.

This will see £750,000 on marketing for service recovery and income generation; £150,000 on Blackburn and Darwen town centres and events; £390,000 on creating safe and welcoming indoor and outdoor public spaces; £125,000 on digital upgrades, training and wellbeing; and £125,000 on behavioural insights, communications, research and community engagement.

Cllr Khan reveals the council received a Covid-19 grant for 2021/22 f rom the government of £5.125m and that since the start of the pandemic, the council has issued 10 direction orders and issued 10 fixed penalty notices for breaches of Covid rules.