ALBION have volunteered their stadium site for a coronavirus testing centre to save people having to travel hundreds of miles.

The club have made health services and Brighton and Hove City Council aware of this and bosses are now waiting to see if they will be taken up on their offer.

The Argus asked the council and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if there would be a new testing site at the Amex and was told the government group was “working to open at least two additional regional testing sites in the region in the coming weeks”.

It is not known if one of these will be at Albion’s ground.

The Amex was previously the site of a testing centre, which was opened in April.

It was shut late last month with the return of competitive football just around the corner.

The Argus:

Since then Brighton and Hove residents have reported being advised by the government website to travel as far as Wales and Weymouth for tests.

One family were forced to make the 450-mile round trip to Swansea yesterday as they sought confirmation their child did not have coronavirus so they would be able to use childcare services.

Hearing of the distant locations being suggested for testing sites, Albion acted.

A club spokesman said: “The club and our charity, Albion In The Community, have done as much as we possibly could to support the local community since the start of the pandemic last March.

“A key part of that support was hosting the coronavirus testing facility at the Amex for several months during lockdown, with the capacity to test in excess of 1,000 people each day.

The Argus:

“Our staff, working alongside colleagues from catering partner Sodexo, delivered a first-class service.

“The imminent start of the new season – especially with the imminent proposed return of fans – clearly meant we couldn’t continue with that large-scale operation we had been running at the stadium.

“However, recognising the continued importance of testing, we volunteered the stadium site for a scaled down or mobile testing centre.

“The relevant bodies, including the NHS and local authority are aware of our offer to help local people avoid unnecessary travel for tests and we look forward to their response.”

The Argus:

The city council confirmed it was “in contact with the Amex team regarding the use of this site for future use as a mobile testing unit location”.

A spokeswoman for the DHSC, meanwhile, confirmed new regional testing sites were currently in the works.

Asked if there would be a new testing centre at the Amex, she said: “To make sure the regional testing site network remains available for as long as is needed, a small number of sites are being relocated.

The Argus:

“We are working to open at least two additional regional testing sites in the region in the coming weeks, which will each be able to test hundreds of people a day.”

The spokeswoman also said that “NHS Test and Trace is completely free and is working”.

She said: “Hundreds of thousands of people are being tested nationally every day and new booking slots and home testing kits are being made available daily.”