Brighton and Hove Albion’s American Express Community Stadium has been converted into a drive-in coronavirus testing centre.
Strictly by appointment only, the club said it’s the south coast’s biggest facility of its kind.
The site is part of the government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing for NHS staff and other key workers.
Chief executive Paul Barber said:
“It has been amazing to see the Department of Health and Social Care who are overseeing the set up of these vital test centres, working alongside the army, club staff, AAA security and the team from our stadium and the club‘s catering partners Sodexo, whose staff are helping to run the site.
“It is hugely impressive, and a great triumph of both teamwork and hard work. The Amex will be the biggest testing site anywhere on the south coast, and will be used for self-testing and assisted testing.”
Members of the club and Sodexo staff have been trained to man the site daily.
Barber thanked the club’s staff for their patience, diligence and ongoing support for the operation.
Adam Doyle, who is leading Sussex NHS’s coronavirus fight, added:
“Testing more of our staff and other key workers, so those who are fit can return to work, is an important part of our plans for responding to the virus.
“This is one of four drive-through testing sites we now have across Sussex, supported with vehicles to test staff at home if they are unable to travel.
“I’d like to thank colleagues from across the NHS, local councils and of course Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club for all their hard work in getting all these testing facilities up and running.”
The Amex is already being used for storage of vital NHS supplies, and together with the club’s training centre in Lancing, will be available for NHS training and local emergency services.
The stadium has also been offered to the local authority as a field hospital, if needed, but this would only be likely in a more extreme situation.
“We have committed to do everything we can to assist the NHS and other key workers in this crisis
“We have already opened up the doors of the training ground, as well as the stadium, to be used by the NHS , emergency services and local authority for training, storage or whatever they feel it can be used for in the fight against this pandemic.”
The club also delivered supplies initially designated for the Arsenal and Manchester United matches to staff at the Royal Sussex Hospital.
Meanwhile the club has also committed 1,000 match tickets for NHS staff once the pandemic is over and it is safe for fans to return to watch football.
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