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Posted On: 12-03-2021
Posted In: Community

Photo of a resident taking a Covid Test at Exe Valley Leisure Centre, showing the booth and PPE worn by member of staffSince the end of February staff from Exe Valley Leisure Centre have been manning the new Community Testing Facility in Tiverton.

So far staff have carried out more than 500 lateral flow tests, recording two positive cases in people who were asymptomatic, at the Bolham Road facility.

The purpose of community testing is to identify people who do not have symptoms of Covid 19 but may be unwittingly carrying the virus, as one in three people with Coronavirus do not show any symptoms. People who can’t work from home and who are regularly in contact with others are encouraged to take the quick tests twice a week to prevent the potential spread of the virus

The team has trained 14 staff to support the testing site with roles including registration assistant, testing assistant and results recorders all being carried out by staff more used to supporting the running of fitness classes or swimming sessions.

Haley Walker, normally Assistant Manager for the Wetside Operations at Mid Devon Leisure is now a team leader for the testing site and said:

“Our staff have been redeployed to all sorts of roles since the Covid pandemic began and I am really proud they are able to support our communities wherever they are needed.”

The team is also pleased to focus on their customer service skills, aware that many people at the site may be carrying out a test for the first time and may be nervous about the process.

Haley added:

“We want to reassure people and provide an environment they feel safe in. We are very thorough with our cleaning and testing protocols but also know people really welcome a touch of care and a smile.”

This attitude is backed up by a recent satisfaction survey which showed an impressive 96% of those surveyed were happy with their experience at the testing site.

Initial team leader training was carried out by Devon County Council, which has overall management of community testing, while the remaining staff were trained by leisure managers. Part of the Mid Devon training package has been so successful it is now being used by other authorities.

The site is also being used by Council employees for testing to ensure our frontline staff, such as waste and recycling crews and building services can continue to work in the community safely.

Community Testing Centres are for people who are not showing any symptoms and who aren’t already accessing regular testing, through their employer for example.   Anyone showing symptoms of having the virus should apply to the national testing programme.

To book a rapid test and to find out more about Community Testing in Devon, visit