BLACKBURN with Darwen Borough Council has announced that it will continue to operate its help hubs, set up at the outset of the coronavirus crisis, as lockdown eases.

The hubs provide residents with financial advice, mental health and wellbeing support, access to food and essential supplies and many other services.

Even as restrictions ease, residents in Blackburn and elsewhere are likely to continue facing hardships due to the wide-ranging economic impact of the pandemic.

Executive member for adult services Councillor Mustafa Desai said: “Now that these networks are in place, we want to continue working together to give bespoke support to people who need it.

“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown on our local communities is going to be felt for months to come, and the Blackburn with Darwen help hub is here to support people to move their lives forward as things gradually get back to normal.

“We want to ensure local people get the right support at the right time to have the best possible lives they can.”

Organisations from the voluntary and community sector including Age UK, Blackburn Youth Zone and others will also join with the council as part of the help hub, as will the Department of Work and Pensions which will provide advice on benefits and finding work.

Lisa Howarth of Job Centre Plus said: “Jobcentre staff have done a fantastic job of processing record numbers of universal credit claims and getting support to people who need it quickly.

“This task would not have been possible without the close working relationships we have with our partner organisations and the local authority.”

She added: “There is a range of support and advice we can offer to help jobseekers find work, and employers get the people they need.

“Along with the support of all the other fantastic organisations involved, we are confident that we can work together to provide the best possible help for the residents of Blackburn with Darwen.”