New Covid-19 community targeted testing programme for VCS organisations in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council’s Northumberland Communities Together (NCT) has begun a new community targeted testing programme that is being offered to organisations that are supporting local communities through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Brooks, Head of Northumberland Communities Together said: “We recognise the valuable contribution that your organisations and volunteers are making to the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents and households and the potential risks that Covid-19 has to your own business continuity. We would like to help keep you and your staff safe so that they can continue to provide the important services at these times. 
 
“Northumberland County Council is offering targeted community testing to key workers and those supporting with local COVID community support arrangements who are unable to work from home during the pandemic to help detect cases of Covid-19 in people who are not showing any symptoms. 
 
“Around one in three people who have coronavirus show no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing. 
 
“Regularly testing those who are at greater risk of contracting and spreading the virus will increase the likelihood of quickly identifying cases which would otherwise go undetected, helping to protect residents by breaking chains of transmission.  It will also help reduce the risk of workplace outbreaks. 
 
“The Council is now offering booking slots to key workers and volunteers who cannot work from home and do not have access to testing through their employer.  In particular, testing will be offered to Voluntary and Community sector (VCS) organisations supporting individuals during Covid-19: 

  • Carers (including informal carers, paid carers and those working for voluntary organisations) 
  • Local voluntary sector organisations e.g. food banks, food distribution charities, food delivery services
  • Voluntary groups supporting vulnerable residents e.g. Visual & Sensory Impairment, Learning Disability, Homelessness and Community Outreach 

Testing sites are open at leisure centres in Ashington, Alnwick and Hexham where lateral flow tests (LFT) will be used to deliver the results within 30 minutes. Those being tested will then be informed of their result via either email or text by NHS Test and Trace - the tests must be pre-booked online – there are no walk-in slots. However, booking can be made on the day. 
 
“We hope that this offer will provide a level of safety and assurance for you, so that you can continue with the fantastic work being done across Northumberland.” 

Frontline employees/volunteers who are not showing any symptoms of Covid-19 and who wish to take up the offer of free testing with Northumberland County Council can book a test online

Testing sites are open at:  

  • Ashington Leisure Centre, Lintonville Terrace, Ashington, NE63 9JY 
  • Willowburn Leisure Centre, Willowburn Avenue, Alnwick, NE66 2JH 
  • Wentworth  Leisure Centre, Wentworth Place,  Hexham, NE46 3PD 

The testing centres are open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm with evenings and weekend appointments being added in the coming days.