Active Luton – Supporting its Community during the Pandemic

Healthy Lifestyles

Many of our healthy lifestyles programmes were unable to continue as before during 2020/21.  However, wherever possible, the team deployed their considerable skills and resources by providing online and telephone support to keep customers motivated, supported and feeling less isolated.

Online and telephone support, including virtual workshops, dedicated Facebook groups and online workouts were provided for:

  • Adult weight management
  • The long terms conditions programme
  • Healthy pregnancy
  • Stop smoking
  • Social prescription

Some of the initiatives were so successful that the plan is to continue with some online activities even after lockdown.

“Really enjoyed yesterday’s session, I hope its ok that I stay muted and get involved through chat. Really looking forward to next week’s session as triggers specifically impact my weight loss journey and throw me off track.”

 – Healthy Lifestyles (Weight Management) Service User


“From the moment we first spoke, I felt that you really cared about my situation and you gave me the time to talk, which was so important to me at that time. You were able to offer lots of suggestions to support my mental health and anxiety, and also practical ones, such as benefit websites, that I had been unaware of.

I don’t doubt that your role can be challenging at times, but I hope you will always remember the difference you are making to people.”

– Social Prescription Service User


Supporting Public Health

We worked in partnership with the local authority to support the Public Health team’s response to the pandemic.  Team members from across the organisation were trained to perform a number of key roles using a wide variety of skills to work with the diverse communities across Luton.  This also mean that team members who had spent most of the year on furlough had the opportunity to get involved and feel they were contributing which had a positive on morale and mental health.


Test and Trace

Dedicated teams were trained to complete the final stage of the NHS Test and Trace process which involved making home visits to people who had not responded to other attempts at contact.


Rapid Test Centre

Having taken over the operation of Luton’s libraries last April, the town’s Central Library space was put to good use by hosting one of Luton’s three, 7-day/week COVID rapid testing centres. Public Health policy in Luton was to encourage anyone who had to leave the house for any reason to be tested once a week regardless of any symptoms as part of managing Luton’s COVID rates.

“I’ve really enjoyed working at the library test centre.  It was depressing at home on furlough and not knowing when things would change.  This way I feel involved, I have a new purpose and it feels good to be helping.” 

-Team Member at Central Library Rapid Testing Centre


Flexible Testing

Active Luton teams also formed flexible testing teams visiting workplaces and other locations across Luton to undertake mass testing in situ.  Some of Luton’s best-known employers used the flexible testing service to keep their teams safe including Arriva, BMI and the Luton Council depot, among others.  The service has also included running a ‘COVID testing bus’ which is currently circulating at different locations around the town to make testing as accessible as possible for the community.


Vaccination Centres

Inspire: Luton Sports Village was also put to good use during the pandemic to support the community.  The NHS Immunisation and Vaccination Team for Central Beds used Inspire as a centre to administer children’s flu jabs, MMR jabs and some screening tests rather than visiting local schools.

In February 2021, Inspire’s sports hall also became host to one of Luton’s COVID vaccination centres where over 500 vaccinations per day are expected to be given.