Burnley Leisure's teamwork to aid Burnley College mass testing aim

Burnley Leisure staff have swung into action to help Burnley College with its huge lateral testing plan for staff and students.

Burnley Leisure employees have been volunteering at the community testing facility at Gannow Community Centre and have given use of the Mechanics Theatre for the distribution of lateral flow testing equipment for early years education facilities, since the government rollout of this quick and accessible test in January.

Last week, at the request of Burnley Council and Burnley College, the team embarked on its biggest challenge yet.

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The Department for Education requires all students to be tested three times within the first three weeks of returning to on-site learning, which causes most schools and colleges a huge amount of work and coordination, leaving teaching staff with less time to focus on delivering education to young people.

Burnley Leisure staff

Burnley College are required to test 3,000 of its student population three times, but to ensure its entire campus population is tested and safe, they have decided to test 8,000 students and staff as part of the lateral flow test roll out.

Mark Dempsey, Hospitality General Manager at Burnley Leisure, said: "We received a phone call from the Burnley Council asking if we could support Burnley College in delivering this mass testing service.

"We have a team already fully trained and accredited working in the community, but we needed a much larger operation to be able to deal with the volume of students. As usual with our fantastic employees they have stepped up to the mark, and we have trained an extra 15 team members, and now, over 30 Burnley Leisure Trust volunteers are now ready to support the testing of hundreds of students every day."

The college test site is located in the main sports hall, so in order for Burnley College sports students to continue their practical sessions, Burnley Leisure opened up its St Peter’s Centre facilities for their use.

Mark added: "The majority of our employees are on furlough whilst our centres are closed; the community testing has been a much welcomed opportunity for them to get involved with the town's recovery from Covid and really make a difference. I’m incredibly proud of them all and the commitment they’ve shown to our organisation and the town that we work in."