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What would you like to see as a local COVID memorial?

Two years on from the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Blackburn with Darwen Council is planning a permanent memorial to this defining period in our social history.

A residents’ survey has gone live this week, asking for opinions on how the pandemic should be commemorated in Blackburn with Darwen – the borough that, for a long time, was the hardest hit in the whole of England in terms of the high number of Covid cases and the length of time residents lived under tighter restrictions than other areas.

Council Leader Coun Mohammed Khan CBE commented:

There’s no denying that the pandemic has changed our world. Our experiences over the last two years have inevitably shaped who we are now, both as individuals and as a local community.

We want to create a lasting legacy in Blackburn with Darwen that recognises the impact of Covid locally, nationally and globally.

Blackburn with Darwen has a wealth of frontline workers who put their own lives on the line to keep essential services running when the country first went into lockdown.

Many local families were personally affected, losing loved ones during a very difficult time. Our children and young people have had their education impacted, as well as their social activities, and many people had to deal with feelings of isolation.

Denise Park, the Council’s Chief Executive, said:

Not everyone’s experience of the pandemic was the same, so any memorial we create should reflect that.

Tragically, for some people, the pandemic has taken loved ones early. For others, particularly those who work in the NHS and other frontline roles, it’s been about working under extreme pressure and developing resilience.

The pandemic also inspired many people to volunteer, to support people who were struggling and to show kindness to others. And, of course, one huge positive is the NHS’s largest ever vaccination programme that has helped people to start to get back to normal.

We want to create a series of memorials that genuinely reflect our residents’ experiences of the Covid pandemic – and that’s why we’re asking local people of all ages for their views.

Through a short online survey, the Council hopes to gather local people’s views on what elements of the pandemic they feel should be commemorated, what sort of features they think would make suitable memorials, and the best locations for them, to make sure the project reflects our diverse communities.

Visit bit.ly/covidmem to complete our short survey now.

Anyone who doesn’t have online access can get a paper copy of the survey by calling 01254 585177 or filling in this online form.

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