Blackburn Rovers are shortlisted for the national Community Club of the Year Award at Thursday night’s virtual awards ceremony.
Alongside this, Rovers have already claimed the Your Move Community Club of the year award for the North-West.
Below are just some of the reasons Rovers have come out on top and claimed the prize for 2021.
Rapid SMART Testing centre
With Blackburn having one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, we have been working tirelessly to identify cases and stop the spread of the virus in our community.
Our testing centre has carried out over 6,000 free lateral flow tests for workers without symptoms in the local area. One in three people infected with the virus are asymptomatic and are therefore unable to have a PCR test, but our lateral flow tests have found around 170 positive tests that would have otherwise gone by unnoticed.
With regular testing, positive cases have been found early on which has certainly helped to minimise the spread of the virus.
Not only have businesses and schools been able to operate safely, but the R rate has also fallen in Blackburn now that wide-spread testing is available to those without symptoms.
We estimate that our testing centre has prevented at least three deaths and 48 hospitalisations – hopefully even more severe cases will be prevented as more people use our testing centre.
With schools closed to most pupils due to lockdown restrictions, most children have relied on learning online at home. Even socialising with friends and family is being done online now that we are unable to meet in person.
But for those without devices and stable internet connections this has been impossible – that is where we stepped in. Rovers Connect is offering free devices, training and internet connections to families who are disconnected. We have already provided 92 devices and internet connections to digitally isolated people in Blackburn.
Through Rovers Connect, children can now continue their education from home without fear of falling behind their classmates and those who are lonely can safely socialise with their loved ones online.
We are ensuring that those who are isolated and at risk from poor mental health stay connected.
Vulnerable older members of the community can now take part in our programmes such as Remember the Rovers, a weekly Zoom meeting with Rovers legends for the over 50s and those with dementia, and kids can join in with our daily activities on social media to keep themselves entertained.
We are very proud to be recognised for our hard work and we will continue to support the community as we come out of lockdown.
Rovers Let’s Talk
Lockdown rules have meant that we have missed out on socialising with family and friends, many have lost their jobs and people’s lives have been turned upside down.
Our Rovers Let’s Talk project uses social media to create productive conversations about mental health so that staff and fans can support each other and share their mental health concerns.
Of course, not everyone with mental health concerns uses social media, so we have been using traditional contact methods to reach others in the community.
We have made 2,000 welfare calls to offer support to people with mental health concerns, and we referred those who are struggling to specialist partners for more support.
Sharing your mental health concerns with others takes courage but it can also be comforting to get things off your chest.
Mental health is unfortunately still seen as a taboo topic, but we hope that we can start to break down the stigma and raise awareness by encouraging more positive conversations.