The Barlow – Covid19 update

17 Mar, 2020

The Barlow Trustees and Operational Management teams met yesterday afternoon (Monday 16 March) to agree on a strategy moving forward in light of the current situation.

It was decided that we will follow the Government guidelines in all respects and the advice at that time was to carry on with caution and increased hygiene practices. We had made provision for each user group to make its own decision on whether to carry on meeting at the Barlow and that the Barlow would kept open until such time as Government advice changed.

Three hours later the Government advice did change and we have all been advised to avoid non-essential contact for the foreseeable future.

Therefore it is with great reluctance that we must stop all gatherings at the Barlow with immediate effect and all User Groups will be informed accordingly. The Reading Room Cafe is now closed (from March 16) until further notice.

The Barlow office will be closed, but if you need help you can leave a message on 01204 852216 or alternatively, you can e-mail In either case, we shall respond to you as quickly as we are able.

This is a truly dynamic situation and as the position changes we will notify immediately. We are also looking to put in place some form of shopping collection service for the most vulnerable in our community, although the details of such a service has yet to be agreed.

The Barlow is there to be the Community hub for all and we wish it to serve the community as well as is safe and practicable throughout this crisis and beyond, if you need help during this difficult period or believe that you can provide help please do not hesitate to contact us.


Mike Fay

Chairman – Barlow Trustees


Blackburn with Darwen Council handed over the running and upkeep of The Barlow to the community in 2013. Since then The Barlow Charity has relied upon the generosity of benefactors and income from users of the facilities, plus the efforts of volunteers to sustain this much valued community facility. Significant improvements have been carried out to help ensure a long-term future, including a new roof, replacement windows, new hygienic worktops in the coffee shop kitchen and a new hot water & heating system. Most recently (summer 2022) the renovation of the outdoor veranda has been completed and a new adjacent decking area has been installed. In addition the snooker room has been restored to its former splendour by a small group of volunteers.

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An important source of funding that has contributed to the above mentioned improvements is The Friends of the Barlow scheme.  By becoming a Friend you can contribute to a fund that is used for repairs and renovations to the structural fabric of the building and pathways etc, and to upgrade, refresh and improve facilities e.g. now that the building is once again weathertight there are plans being drawn up for the main hall can be deep-cleaned, re-decorated and refurbished and other water-damaged areas such as the main stairway & its beautiful large, stained glass window to also be restored to their former glory.

As a Friend of The Barlow, your regular donations provide a much appreciated, steady income stream that to date (summer 2022) has raised in the region of over £40,000, which has been mostly used contributing towards paying for the roof, windows and heating system.
We intend to soon publish the overall list of improvements/tasks and from that you will see that there is a significant amount of expenditure still needed to achieve all of the identified tasks and improvements. We would welcome donations/sponsorship for specific items that may be of particular interest to individuals or families or groups, but the regular donations by Friends of The Barlow are also crucial. Therefore, we welcome any and all new donors and are grateful for whatever amount you choose to donate.

We are of course also very grateful to all of our existing Friends of The Barlow and if you are able to increase your monthly donation by any amount, that would be hugely appreciated – you can either make the increase to your standing order directly with your bank or you can complete a new form and send it to your bank or give it to us to process.

Please also consider increasing the value of your donation at no extra cost to you by using Gift Aid – as an example, an £8 donation from you becomes £10 with the Gift Aid add-on!

If you wish to donate please click on the link below, complete the form and either send it to your bank with an email copy to our email address  or return the completed form to the Barlow’s office in a sealed envelope addressed to Friends of The Barlow.  Paper copies of the form are available from The Barlow.

For any further information please email or contact the office via or 01204 852216.

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