The Black Country-based charity (which runs nine leisure facilities for Sandwell Council across the borough) part converted two of its sites to approved vaccination centres at the start of the pandemic – Portway Lifestyle Centre in Oldbury and Tipton Sports Academy – and just between them they have delivered in excess of 160,000 of the *400,000+ jabs administered across Sandwell to date.
Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are so grateful to the staff of Sandwell Leisure Trust for the role they’ve played in rolling out vaccination in our area. From the provision of vaccination venues, right through to the staff members’ encouragement to local people to get their jabs, SLT have been instrumental in maximising vaccination uptake. Through this work, there’s no doubt that lives have been saved.”
Ash Rai, Chief Executive for Sandwell Leisure Trust, added: “We’re so proud to be able to offer our unflinching support for this far reaching, local vaccination programme. Portway Lifestyle Centre and Tipton Sports Academy were chosen because of their size and accessible location, plus our teams there have worked tirelessly and hand-in- hand with local NHS and Public Health staff to significantly contribute to Sandwell’s success rate.”
“I’d also like to say a special thank you to our customers, clubs and partners, who have all been so understanding and patient with the disruption in services whilst we have been supporting the so important fight against Covid.”
Sandwell’s completion rate has been much better than expected, and in some age groups a lot higher than the national average. This is also true of black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, which traditionally have lower vaccination uptake rates.
Indeed, Sandwell MBC has just won a local government public health award for its Covid vaccination programme, which heralds the finest examples of innovation and quality delivered by councils.
*This figure doesn’t include children or third booster jabs, which are ongoing.
Pictured above, from left to right, taken at Tipton Sports Academy: Faraz Ahmed – Senior Lead Pharmacist, John Harling – Manager at Portway Lifestyle Centre, Rosie Chidlow – COVID 19 Vaccine Operational Manager, Simon Bryan – Manager at Tipton Sports Academy and Nena Mason – Senior Lead Nurse.