A CORONAVIRUS testing site has been set up in Broadgreen Community Centre.

This follows a request to the Department for Health and Social Care from Swindon Borough Council’s public health team. The council requested consistent access to testing from the government after being placed on the national Covid-19 watchlist last month.

The walk-through centre joins the two drive-through testing sites in Swindon – one near Wroughton and one outside the civic offices on Beckhampton Street.

Anyone with a continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change to their sense of smell or taste, must stay at home and book a free swab test via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling NHS 119.

The test takes less than a minute and results should be known the next day.

South Swindon Parish Council chairman Chris Watts said: “There were a few places we were considering but the decision to pick this one was justified considering the spike in cases in SN1 a few weeks ago.

“It has lent itself to be ideally positioned and available to people living nearby. We are only too happy to do what we can to help.

“I’ve heard of people in Swindon who were directed to Wales, Tewkesbury and Liverpool when booking a test, which is disappointing when we have two centres here already.

“We are hoping this new facility will indicate a turnaround and will provide enough capacity in Swindon to return to the situation we had before the spike.

“This centre will help reassure people in the area which has been hit particularly hard over the last few months and we hope people take advantage of it if they have symptoms.”

The centre is in walking distance for many people living nearby but they cannot just turn up – booking ahead is essential.

Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre).

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely.

Testing at the new site started at 2pm today, with more appointments available each day. Testing is available for everyone, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.


Issues with the national online booking portal has caused problems for people trying to book appointments across the country. Despite these problems, the latest data shows that between September 2 and 8, more than 3,700 Covid-19 tests were carried out at Swindon sites, with a further 793 home testing kits being sent out to people.

The council is not informed of when new booking slots are added to the NHS portal and these are quickly booked up due to demand.

If there are no local test slots available when attempting to book on the NHS online portal or when calling NHS 119, the council advises to keep trying as new slots and home testing kits are made available daily

Only book a test if you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms and do not use NHS 111 -the right number is 119.


Last Friday, Swindon moved down a place on the government’s watchlist becoming an “area of concern” following a big drop in the borough’s coronavirus case rate.

At the height of the recent spate of cases, Swindon’s infection case rate up to August 4 was 46.8 per 100,000 of the population according to figures from Public Health England.

The latest figures released on Friday show that the case rate up to September 6 had fallen to 16.7 per 100,000 of the local population, below the national average of 19.7.

Swindon Borough Council’s director of public health Steve Maddern said: “Access to testing has been a crucial part of our strategy in tackling Covid-19 here in Swindon, so I am really pleased we have been able to secure additional testing capacity at our new facility in Broadgreen.

“We know some people have experienced difficulty booking tests and this is an issue which is reflected across the country. However, if you have Covid-19 symptoms please keep trying because new testing appointments and the option of booking home testing kits are regularly added to the online portal.

“It really is important that people do book appointments for tests because anyone that turns up without doing so will be turned away.”


Anyone testing positive for the virus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at a test if they develop symptoms.


Health minister Lord Bethell said: “Testing is proving an effective way to contain the virus so we are scaling testing capacity and walk-through centres to make it even easier for everyone to get a free coronavirus test.

“Our NHS Test and Trace service will contact you if you test positive or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus. I urge anyone with symptoms to book a test today, and anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow their advice to protect those around them from the virus.”

Interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding said: “Getting a test is now faster and easier than ever. Local sites will mean anyone who has symptoms can get a free test quickly to find out whether they have the virus and need to stay at home, or can safely return to work and get back to the things they love.

“Over 95 per cent of people will get their results the next day, and anyone who tests positive will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help to prevent the spread of the virus.”

The testing centre is being operated in partnership with G4S and will offer self-administered tests.

G4S director Gordon Brockington said:  “We are proud of our important role in setting up and managing this Covid-19 testing site, and other similar sites across the UK. It has been inspiring to see the enthusiasm of our employees to step up and support the government, our health services and the public during this crisis.”

In addition to walk-through testing sites, there are over 75 regional drive-through test sites and 236 mobile testing units which travel the UK to offer coronavirus testing. They respond to need, setting up test sites at care homes, police stations and prisons.

The government has set up a home-testing service, supported by Amazon’s logistics network and other commercial partners. Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house.