It was launched by the City of Wolverhampton Council in March and, depending on their size, enabled businesses to claim financial support of up to £10,000 to provide regular rapid Covid-19 testing for staff. The grant is intended to offset any additional costs testing might entail, for instance for PPE and cleaning for on-site testing, or time away from work to allow staff to get themselves a rapid test.
Over 270 local businesses – employing more than 3,000 staff – signed up before the closing date last month and, in order to receive their grant in full, must now ensure that at least 75% of their workforce have a free rapid Covid-19 test twice a week.
Councillor Stephen Simkins, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "The Business Testing Grant is just one of the ways in which we are supporting local businesses to operate as safely as possible as the city looks to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A third of people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms and could therefore unknowingly pass it onto others. Routine rapid Covid-19 testing of staff is helping identify these cases, preventing the spread of the virus and protecting businesses, employees and the wider community.
"It's great news that over 270 employers signed up to the Business Testing Grant scheme and that their workforce is now having a routine test.
"I would encourage other workers – and indeed the wider community – to follow their lead and make sure they are getting their free Rapid Covid-19 test twice a week to reassure themselves and others that they don't have the virus and to help everyone stay safe.”
Free rapid testing, for people without symptoms of Covid-19, is available at The Civic Centre, St Peter's Square (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm), The Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road West (10am to 7pm daily), The Hub at Ashmore Park (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 6pm and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays), and the Mobile Test Unit at New Cross Hospital (11am to 8pm daily).
In addition, free Covid-19 home test kits are available for collection from the Mobile Test Unit, The Civic Centre, Ashmore Park Hub, PCR test centres (Showell Road, Faulkland Street car park, Blakenhall Resource Centre and Whitmore Reans Library in Wolverhampton and Mountford Lane car park, Bilston), Bilston and Wolverhampton Markets, WV Active leisure centres, Wolverhampton Swimming and Fitness Centre, a number of local schools and participating pharmacies (details at NHS).
People can collect up to two boxes – containing a total of 14 kits – at a time. The kits contain step-by-step instructions enabling people to complete their test from the comfort of home. Results, whether positive or negative, must be reported to help track the prevalence of the virus.
More information on rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19, including advice about how to take the test at home, is available at Lateral Flow Home Test Kits.
Businesses with questions about rapid testing for their workforce should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Further advice and guidance on operating businesses in a Covid-secure manner can be found at Trade with Confidence.