Author Archives: Jack

Lockdown Guidance

As all can imagine, a large part of this week has been spent investigating which of our programmes can continue in the November lockdown and which will need to be postponed and what the implications of that will be. 

We can continue our work in local schools, so our PL Primary Stars, Fit2Go and Unstoppable programmes will continue to be delivered in primary schools throughout and our PL Inspires programme will continue in Secondary Schools and our Children in Need sessions in our local special schools.

Our BFC Sports College can remain open, so our BTEC and Degree students will continue to be supported in person as well as our Traineeship students.

We will also be able to continue with our mentor programmes Tower Above, Divert and United Together as all are focused on one-to-one work, which we’ll do outdoors.

We will however have to postpone face-to-face delivery of our PL Kicks sessions, Walking Football, Forces Football, Ladies Healthy Hearts sessions, Get Set to Go and Fit Blackpool groups.

However, we will take all of these provisions online and set up additional virtual groups, to add to our extra time, sporting memories and other groups that have remained online over the past few months with the hope to bring all back face-to-face delivery in line with government guidance in December.

We will also continue to support those isolated and shielding, via our Tackling Isolation project and work closely with local partners, including Blackpool Council to support those most in need.

At this point, we have no plans to reintroduce the furlough scheme for staff and remain committed to keeping our full workforce available, full time throughout November. We are here and committed to helping. 

Once again our staff have been tremendous in diversifying our provision and being willing to find ways to continue to support our local community.

Please keep up to date with the new sessions for November via our social media platforms. 

CEO: Football, FIT & Kit

Our Walking Football sessions at Play Football and Lytham YMCA have had a very successful return to play, with most of our sessions seeing full registers. We now deliver 5 sessions each week and all information can be found here.

One of the biggest challenges has been the fact that we have to take pre bookings and cannot accept cash payments on the night. This is because of the COVID track and trace and having to restrict the numbers at each session to fit within the FA guidance of only 30 people coming together for organised football. This 30 has to include the staff and because of these restrictions, we cannot accept walk ins. The Senior Seasiders walking football group have been a great support in pulling all this together and maintaining contact with many of our participants. 

Our newest venture is also the launch of our Forces Football. This session takes place every Thursday at Play Football and is available to members of our community that have served our armed forces and want the opportunity to play football and meet other members of serving and ex force personnel. 

Another session we deliver for ex-servicemen and women is our Gardening Club, delivered at Arboretum in Moor Park. We have taken responsibility to maintain the area dedicated to forces personnel. Last year we developed a area to the BFC players that were lost in World War 2. 

We have also launched a host of new physical activities for adults, including some health walks and free keep fit sessions for ladies that have graduated from our FitFans weight management programme. The sessions have been implemented to allow these participants to maintain their weight loss and continue to meet fellow successors. 

Our current FitFans sessions have also been very successfully delivered at Bloomfield Road stadium and has been great to allow fans safe access to our great stadium, which we are utilising as our venue to host the free weekly workshops and fitness sessions. 

This week we have also given away a number of our playing kits from last season. With the club now having new kit supplied by Puma, we have had to purchase new uniforms for staff and students and also new playing kits for all our representative squads. This has meant us gifting full playing kits to Park Community Academy and Armfield Academy, meaning our great Tangerine kits being utilised even further. 

We still have a lot of playing kit left and also many staff have given back a lot of their tracksuits, t shirts and jumpers, so we will now work with local charities to get this clothing to people in most need. 

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Addiction and Recovery Navigator

An exciting opportunity has arisen for someone to join Blackpool FC Community Trust (BFCCT) as part of the Community Cohesion team to deliver on a new, town wide programme called ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery). Funded by the Home Office and managed by Public Health Blackpool, the programme is aimed at reducing drug related deaths and moving individuals away from drug addiction 

Working as part of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT), and working with a range of other referral partners, the post holder will support individuals who are recovering from addiction and are ready to engage in community activities and provisions. They will support individuals to access positive provisions that exist within BFCCT as well as external community providers that positively supports their mental and physical health, further aiding their recovery from addiction.

The post holder will be jointly responsible and accountable for making sure all related KPI’s and targets are met. Ensuring high quality monitoring and evaluation methods and techniques are in place is crucial, as is a strong awareness around safeguarding. 

This individual will also work alongside the Head of Community Programmes and the Community Cohesion Manager to develop new schemes of work and funding proposals as well as provide reports for partner agencies and commissioners.

Working in partnership with the Comms team, the post holder will also assume responsibility for ensuring that the marketing and promotion needs of each programme is sufficiently met. 

BFCCT, based at Bloomfield Road Stadium is the independent charitable arm of Blackpool FC, with a focus on engaging, developing, inspiring and supporting the people of Blackpool to live better lives. 

How to apply:

You can also request a paper version, if required, from Brett Whitehead by email: brett.whitehead@bfcct.co.uk or telephone 01253 348691.

Applications to be submitted no later than noon on Friday 27th November, 2020.

Please note that the job will be subject to satisfactory references and enhanced DBS procedures.

Job opportunity: Addiction and Recovery Mentor

An exciting opportunity has arisen for someone to join Blackpool FC Community Trust (BFCCT) as part of the Community Cohesion team to deliver on a new, town wide programme called ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery).  Funded by the Home Office and managed by Public Health Blackpool, the progamme is aimed at reducing drug related deaths and moving individuals away from drug addiction.

Working as part of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT), and working with a range of other referral partners, the post holder will support individuals on a one-to-one basis who lead complex lives, including addiction to drugs, such as crack cocaine and opiates. 

The post holder will be jointly responsible and accountable for making sure all related KPI’s and targets are met. Ensuring high quality monitoring and evaluation methods and techniques are in place is crucial, as is a strong awareness around safeguarding.

This individual will also work alongside the Head of Community Programmes and the Community Cohesion Manager to develop new schemes of work and funding proposals as well as provide reports for partner agencies and commissioners.

Working in partnership with the Comms team, the post holder will also assume responsibility for ensuring that the marketing and promotion needs of each programme is sufficiently met. 

BFCCT, based at Bloomfield Road Stadium is the independent charitable arm of Blackpool FC, with a focus on engaging, developing, inspiring and supporting the people of Blackpool to live better lives. 

How to apply:

Alternatively you can request a paper version from Brett Whitehead by email: brett.whitehead@bfcct.co.uk or telephone 01253 348691.

Please note that the job will be subject to satisfactory references and enhanced DBS procedures.

CEO: Time and Care Into Our Community

This week for myself has been about development and looking to the future. Normally this time of year brings a two day trip to St George’s Park for the EFL Trust National Conference, of which my favourite part is having time to spend with other football club charity leads to share best practice and compare the issues we face. It’s also a chance to get a full nights sleep for me, which is a valuable asset with two young children at home.

But this year the conference has been delivered online, across five days, full of some really interesting and insightful sessions. One point to raise is how often the many speakers have mentioned the fantastic work we are doing in Blackpool, including the new CEO of the NCS Trust Mark Gifford, CEO of Sport England Tim Hollingsworth and also the CEO of the EFL Trust Mike Evans. It makes me very proud to hear that the work our team does is thought of so highly across the country.

For the Trust, we have also seen the restart of our Walking Football sessions at Play Football and Lytham YMCA, which have been well received and we hope more of our regulars will understand why we have to implement the new booking system and will get booked on for the sessions very soon.

We have also restarted our weekly Get Set to Go session at Stanley Park, which are focused on supporting people living with mental health issues. We use Football as means for them to come together with their peers and develop positive experiences to improve their mental health.

We have had to adjust our BetterStart programme, which engages early years and pre-schoolers in physical activity to prepare them for school, and works with their families to cover ‘how to live a healthy lifestyle’. With nurseries not allowing external providers into their facilities, we cannot deliver this programme as is, so the team have developed information packs and guidance for the nurseries to follow to keep some engagement. These were delivered this past week.

Our Tackling Loneliness Together project, delivered in partnership with EFL Trust and funded by the DCMS has continued to support many people living at home on their own and given them a range of outlets to engage with our staff and other members of the community. The current funding stream finishes at the end of December, but we have already submitted two applications to continue this much needed work, which will hopefully see us extend this provision and continue to make phone calls, deliver virtual social groups, send letters and make doorstep visits to those in need.

Finally, we received the very sad news that one of our Tackling Loneliness Together participants, Peter Newbold, sadly passed away last Sunday. We were aware that Pete was living with terminal illness, even so, the news shook a number of our members of staff, who regularly received calls from him about how we could help more people in our town and how the work we were doing was keeping him going.

Stories like this really bring home the importance of our work, but also how much time and care our staff put in to our community. It really doesn’t get the recognition it truly deserves.

Move Play Grow Packs

Due to the ongoing disruption from the COVID 19 outbreak our FREE Move, Play, Grow nursery sessions were unable to be delivered in person so our Early Years Health Officer Zoe has created specialist resources packs. All the nurseries that were due to have sessions delivered this half term have now received their packs to deliver the programme at their own speed over the next few weeks.

These packs are full of all the activities and information needed for the nursery practitioner to deliver their own mini version of the programme, until such time that one of our specialist team can attend the nursery. 

The Move, Play, Grow project, in partnership with Better Start Blackpool, is designed for Pre-school children in nurseries across Blackpool and covers topics such as oral health, physical activity, healthy and unhealthy foods and the importance of limiting sugar intake.  Topics are covered via fun, interactive activities, and games. 

If you would like to arrange for Move, Play, Grow to be delivered in your nursery setting please contact our Health Education Manager Rosie on: 01253 348691

CEO: Let’s all ‘Stand Up For Louis’

On Saturday 29th August I sat down with the family of a past Degree student of ours Louis O’Neill. 

The meeting came around under extremely sad circumstances. We met the day before what would have been Louis’ 25th birthday, but tragically Louis passed away on 3rd June, due to a blood clot (DVT) that had formed in his leg and travelled to his heart. 

Louis had completed our Foundation Degree a few years earlier, that we deliver in partnership with the EFL Trust and the University of South Wales, and had a great impact on a number of members of our team due to his dedication and his pride at being involved with the Community Trust. Louis had done many hours of volunteering in local schools as part of our Premier League Primary Stars programme and had also been a participant on our Kicks programme, predominantly at our Revoe site. 

Since completing his studies, Louis moved further down south to live with his father Stanley, his step mum and his young sister, and to be closer to his mum Lesley.

Louis had a job at the nearby Centre Parcs and continued to be active and a regular gym goer. He also enjoyed playing video games and kept in contact with many friends online. 

However, once the pandemic hit, Louis had been furloughed and spent even more time at home and online, meaning he became less active than usual. As the weeks went on, he started to develop a pain in his leg which unfortunately developed into a blood clot, eventually causing his tragic passing. 

A number of my team, both past and present, have been in contact with Louis’ father Stanley to share stories of our experiences with his son and also to support the development of a legacy project his father is leading on, ‘Stand Up For Louis’.

Collectively we now want to use this terrible occurrence to make all young people aware of how important it is to remain active and to avoid staying in an inactive position (sitting, lying) for too many hours at a time.

Once I was made aware of this terrible story it didn’t take much research to find that Louis’ story actually isn’t that unusual. With more and more of us playing video games, binge watching Netflix, chatting to friends online or having to work from home, it becomes too easy to not stand up and move around for a few hours, so let’s all use this tragic story to learn from and make sure we regularly ‘Stand Up for Louis’ and keep ourselves fit and healthy. 

We will be honouring Louis by developing information boards around our Education facilities and also delivering talks with our own BTEC, Degree and NCS students to start with, and will work with the family to help make as many people as possible aware of how this can happen to anyone. 

To learn more about what Louis’s father Stanley and mother Lesley are doing, please visit www.standupforlouis.org

CEO: Lockdown Lowdown

Over the past couple of weeks we have been collating data for the work we have done during the pandemic and it started to show some amazing figures. 

Between April and July we had to change the way we deliver a lot of services and really invest in digital platforms. 

This was a real culture shock for the organisation, staff and participants, but all reacted and responded very well. 

Pretty much from day one, we had virtual classrooms taking place for our BFC Sports College and Traineeship students, digital social groups for our older adults and residents at risk of isolation and physical activity sessions and challenges for our younger audiences to still feel engaged in BFC Community Trust activity. 

We also introduced a host of new provision, focused on supporting the most at risk, which meant we were making regular phone calls, health checks and food parcel deliveries. 

This resulted in some unbelievable statistics; 150,000 engagements in virtual physical activity, 520 food parcels delivered, more than 640 health checks made, staff completed more than 180 qualifications in the period and every one of our BTEC students achieved or exceeded their target grade.

Whilst the pandemic was an extremely stressful and difficult period, it allowed us to focus on the thing that we should always do, supporting our community and this allowed our team to utilise their creativeness to come up with new ways to show our support and try to make a difference. 

We have also been able to introduce a number of new programmes, as part of our reaction to the lockdown, which we hope will help with resilience, rebuild confidence and give people the opportunity to get back to some form of normality. 

The end of August saw us also complete a very different summer delivery, which included partnering with Blackpool Council for the ‘Blackpool Summer of Fun’ where we delivered free physical activity sessions and provided free lunches. We also delivered an Inclusion Sports Camp at Bloomfield Road, with Lancashire County Council, for young people with disabilities as well as an alternate Kicks programme, where we offered free football sessions in areas seeing significant juvenile anti social behaviour.

The end of August also sees the close of our 2019-2020 season, which for many reasons has been our most successful one to date. We close the year with more staff employed, more programmes being delivered in our community and we also opened our first Trust owned facility, the Education and Community Centre at Bloomfield Road. We also continued to build stronger links with local community groups and organisations, including; Blackpool Council and it’s many sections of service, local businesses, Lancashire Constabulary and other crime related services, local education and employment establishments and also the football club’s supporters groups BST and the Muckers to name a few. 

This has been very important in our continued progress and also rebuilding strong links with our “new” football club, so I would like to thank everyone for opening their doors and welcoming the opportunity to work with us. 

I’d also like to thank our Board of Trustees, who tirelessly give up their time and have helped guild me through some very tough circumstances this past year, also my fantastic team of staff, who are always committed, compassionate and focused on helping our amazing community. 

I also need to thank my family, especially my wife and daughters, as there is many times I should be home at a normal time and am stuck at work or lose my weekends to deal with something, to which they never grumble and always spur me on. 

Whilst this brings a close to the 2019-2020 season it’s starts the 2020-2021 season, which we believe will be our biggest and best yet and we have lots to announce in the next few months. We have all our staff back working and we have most of our programmes back in place from the start of September, plus lots of new things coming up. It’s a very exciting time. 

Trust assemble strong squad to reduce crime

 Blackpool has the highest rate of serious violent crime in Lancashire, for which the significant deprivation seen in some areas is a factor, exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. Despite this, though, Blackpool remains a great place with unrivalled assets, including the Football Club and Community Trust, who have come together to support the community through the development of a new Community Cohesion strand, as part of their wider Community Programmes service within the Community Trust programme portfolio.

To commemorate this, key partners gathered at Bloomfield Road on Monday to officially announce the launch of a new Cohesion strand within the Community Programmes team of the Community Trust. 

“We are really pleased to have launched this strand of work, which we have taken a great deal of time and consideration to develop. Youth Crime and Anti Social behaviour continue to be an ever growing issue in Blackpool and being able to utilise our great Football Club as a mechanism to engage our targeted audiences is a unique and powerful way to inspire our next generation on to positive pathways”, said Ashley Hackett, Chief Executive at Blackpool FC Community Trust.

Jason White, Head of Community Programmes at Blackpool FC Community Trust, expanded upon this by adding “This is a great development for the Trust and town and we are immensely proud. Furthermore, while the focus is absolutely on making this provision the best it can be to achieve the desired outcomes, we are also looking to the future and have clear ideas on how this can be developed further.”

The importance of this work was reinforced by Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, who has provided support through his Reducing Reoffending Fund. “It was great to attend this fantastic launch. Their drive and dedication is clear to see. Policing alone cannot prevent people reoffending which is why I continue to support initiatives that break the cycle offenders all too often find themselves trapped in. By working in partnership with community organisations we can make a real difference at a local level and avoid offenders returning through the criminal justice system and make our communities safer.”

This sentiment was echoed by Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Clarke, who heads up Lancashire Violence Reduction Network: “This new community cohesion strand is an important part of helping young people to make good choices that divert them away from crime. We know the significant impact that role models can have on young people and by working in partnership in this way we know that we can make a real difference and effect positive change that keeps our young people safe.”

Ben Mansford, Chief Executive at Blackpool Football Club, expanded upon this: “It’s so important that young people in Blackpool have the opportunity to positively engage with this great football club, and make them feel proud that this is their club and their town. My hope is that the work that the Trust are doing – which we are delighted to support – will achieve that, and hopefully we’ll see more young people in Bloomfield Road backing the team this season.”

Unstoppable

Blackpool FC Community Trust is proud to announce that we will once again be working in partnership with Blackpool FC and Simon Sadler’s Segantii Capital Management to deliver the very successful Unstoppable project in Blackpool’s primary schools.

The project utilises the book developed by best-selling author Dan Freedman and focuses on supporting Year 6 pupils around some hard hitting and emotive subjects such as knife crime and gangs, relationships with family members and the transition from primary to secondary school.

This marks the second consecutive year that Segantii has financially supported the programme by donating this year’s required funding requirement of £38,000. Every pupil is given a copy of the book to read, with them completing a chapter each week before attending a workshop with the Community Trust. Delivery takes place over six weeks and through the support of Simon Sadler, every school is offered the project for free. 

Simon Sadler said “One of the main reasons that I became custodian of Blackpool Football Club was to embed the Club within the heart of the local community again. I am proud of having been born and raised in Blackpool and I believe Segantii’s support of Unstoppable will continue to help Blackpool’s next generation of youngsters handle the challenging issues the book addresses.

“I’ve been impressed with how our Community Trust delivered Unstoppable and particularly, how Ash and his team adapted the programme during the pandemic to provide both face-to-face and virtual delivery. I look forward to seeing the initiative rolled out across Blackpool schools again this year.”

CEO of the Community Trust Ashley Hackett added, “Simon’s support for the Town, the Club and the Community Trust has been unparalleled from day one and this additional financial help, despite the pressures caused by the pandemic on the Club, is a prime example of this and it’s greatly appreciated. 

“We as the football club family have a responsibility and commitment to making the lives of our local residents as positive as possible, so this provision delivered to every Year 6 pupil, in every school, in Blackpool is a great example of our collective focus. 

“We now start work to find long term sustainability for the project and continue to develop a new area of work for the Community Trust focusing on Personal Health and Social Education (PHSE) in primary schools. I would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to Simon for his continued support, especially in the current environment.”

The project will commence delivery in September and will be delivered throughout the next academic year.