A NEW town centre community help hub has opened to provide free coronavirus testing and support.

It is based in Blackburn's The Mall shopping centre opposite Marks and Spencer.

The hub, created by Blackburn with Darwen Council, will offer free rapid Covid-19 testing as well as a range of support for borough residents as the country moves out of lockdown restrictions.

Rapid tests using lateral flow devices and community collection of kits will be availablefrom 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

It replaces the closed rapid test site at King George’s Hall.

The new community hub will also provide a physical location for the BwD Help Hub.

Work at Over Darwen House has started offering tests on site again. Staff will offer Covid advice and guidance and signpost people to support.

The council is also launching a programme of targeted community testing, including a mobile bus going round the borough.

Cllr Mohammed Khan. the leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "We hope having a physical location for our BwD Help Hub – which has done so much to help so many – will enable us to help many of our residents to keep moving forward with their lives in a variety of ways."

Dominic Harrison, borough public health director, said: "While we have done very well in driving down rates locally, Covid hasn’t gone away and the pandemic is not yet over.

"The hubs in Blackburn and Darwen will play a vital role in of our programme of testing."