Author Archives: Lauren Cholmondeley

Crowned Champions 🏆

Blackpool FC Sports College Football Academy Students Crowned Champions of the EFL Community and Education Football Alliance North West 2 

Students from Blackpool FC Sports College have been eagerly awaiting the outcome of the EFL CEFA season 2019/20 since lockdown was announced in March this year. 

The CEFA Management Committee have ratified a decision to formally end the 2019/20 CEFA season. As a result, and as per the decision taken by League One and Two Clubs ratified by the EFL Board the final League standings have been finalised using an unweighted Points Per Game calculation. 

Blackpool were top of the table back in March after 10 games, with the only defeat of the season coming to Carlisle Utd. 

It was the plan to award all teams with their league winner’s trophy at the EFL Championship Play Off Final held at Wembley but due to the current climate, this will not be taking place unfortunately. 

Blackpool FC Community Trust plan to hold a virtual presentation evening with the students, who have just recently finished their studies for this academic year by remote learning. 

Tom Hanslip, captain of the team this year said, “There’s been a real togetherness with the team this year, which has made it far more enjoyable to play in. We have worked a lot harder for each other and been a lot more patient when things weren’t going our way”. 

The team have had an excellent season and the title is thoroughly deserved. 

Blackpool FC Sports College are still accepting applications for September for students.

While You’re Here:

Armed Forces Week 2020

For Armed Forces Week, 2020, Blackpool FC Community Trust and The Fylde Memorial Arboretum and Community Woodland group hosted a Football Remembers plaque unveiling in the Trust’s dedicated garden. This was part of the wider partnership work between the Community Trust and The Arboretum that has developed over the past 18 months that celebrates the links between Blackpool Football Club and the Armed Forces. However, because of social distancing regulations, the event was by invitation only but was also shown live via Facebook. 

In the build up to this unveiling, staff, volunteers and the Woodlands group worked hard to get the area ready for Armed Forces Week as the area dedicated to Blackpool FC had overgrown due to COVID19. However, now that restrictions have eased, this effort has resulted in the area being cleaned up, new flowers and trees planted and trees so that it now looks part of the Arboretum. The area has now been expanded with a lovely new picnic bench donated by John Jones for visitors to rest and enjoy the beautiful surroundings which will also be officially opened this weekend. 

Paul Binns, former soldier and who manages the Arboretum in a volunteer capacity, explained that “The Arboretum is for the whole of Blackpool and Fylde and we hope this partnership will help attract more people to come and visit. It is entirely managed and run by volunteers and more people visiting may mean that more people would like to get involved, which may help us establish our ambition of developing a Friends Group”

The day was a real success and was viewed by many people online. View here. Dave Maclean, Community Engagement Manager for the Community Trust, was delighted with how the day unfolded. “This project is just one element of our Armed Forces offer, which also includes weekly online meetings. The long-term plan is for this to become a dedicated veterans gardening group to provide light physical activity, friendship and tackle social isolation and loneliness, while at the same time supporting The Fylde Memorial Arboretum and Community Woodlandgroup in its future plans.

The Arboretum has been open since 2008 and its purpose is to provide the Service Associations and the people of Blackpool and the Fylde with a place of peace and beauty in which to remember their fallen comrades and loved ones and is the only one in the UK outside the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

While You’re Here

#Neverwentaway

Here is a quick round up of some of the work we have been involved in throughout the last few months. From competitions, online activities and virtual sessions. To extending our services, first team Blackpool FC Players getting involved and delivering food parcels to our local community.

For more stories please visit our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.

Helped launch a new online resources for young people.

Loneliness Awareness Week

Steps towards our new normality

Supporting the Armed Forces

Volunteers’ Week

Poetry Competition Winners /Poetry competition information

Highlighting Volunteers

Community Hub

Beach Clean

PL Kicks goes online

Competition: Win Charlie Adam’s Boots! (now closed)

Helped our participants mental health: Mental Health Awareness Week

Blackpool FC and Community Trust working hand in hand

We commemorated the 75th anniversary of VE Day

Virtual Activities for children

Jimmy Armfield Memorial Trophy Tournament Activities

Keeping a smile on participants faces

Fit Blackpool participants completed their programme

Our education offer went online

Delivered food parcels to our local community

CEO: Start Your Career at Blackpool FC Sports College

Over the past few months we have been working very closely with education partners from Blackpool Council and a host of other providers to support young people, in Year 11, to understand the options available to them now that they have completed their secondary education career.

I proudly sit on the town’s ‘Opportunity Area’ partnership board, which is a group of professionals brought together to support the towns education provision.

Blackpool is one of 12 areas in the country that was given this funded provision three years ago, to try and make a difference to giving our young people the best opportunities we can.

A host of provisions have been developed, centred on career journeys, additional education supports and even school holiday programmes that focus on giving children that receive free school meals a lunch or dinner when they are not at school, whilst taking part in positive activities. 

All the above became even more important in the next phase of our recovery from COVID-19. 

A very exciting improvement to the offer is a new website that has been developed by the OA (opportunity area) team, which is a website called Start in Blackpool.

Start in Blackpool is a free digital platform designed to support each pupil’s individual career journey and prepare them for employment. The online Blackpool Careers Journey forms part of the learning platform and is now live on the website. It offers a series of short courses for young people to boost their employability training as well as improve their skills and knowledge.

The priority, in the first instance, is to target vulnerable young people who are at risk of ending up not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Pupils will benefit from a wide variety of resources from education providers and be able to learn about future careers as well gaining an insight into the vast job opportunities available across the Fylde coast.

The main aim is to improve outcomes for children and young people from education through to employment. This means that children should be well prepared to start school by the time they are aged five, be able to achieve their full potential whilst at school and college and be well-informed to make ambitious choices about their future as adults.

We have been involved in shaping the content of the website and trying to help make sure the journey of each user is appropriate to that audience. We are now tasked with helping make sure every young person, parent and or carer and education establishments are aware of this service and to spread the word of this free resource.

A key reason for engaging in this service was also to make people aware of the opportunities we, at Blackpool FC Community Trust, have available to young people leaving school via our BFC Sports College. Our provision has existed for more than seven years now and continues to increase in success each year.

As a progression for school leavers our offer includes BTEC education programmes, for all learning levels (Level 1, 2, 3 and extended diploma) in Sports Studies, with an amazing and unmatched enrichment available via our Football Academy or Sports Coaching options. 

Students get the opportunity to study a full time college education programme in the unique setting of a professional Football Club. The aim of each course is to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and expertise to build a career within the sports, fitness and leisure industry.

To find out more information, please go to the Start in Blackpool website or Blackpool FC Sports College.

We are still delivering virtual open sessions and sign up sessions, but have the full intention to open and deliver face to face education from September, in our brand new BFC Sports College facility at Bloomfield Road Stadium. 

We also have a Foundation Degree option for young people looking to continue higher education, as an alternative to going away to University. Based predominantly at Bloomfield Road stadium for lectures, seminars and tutorials, you can study for your degree locally.

Delivered in partnership with the University of South Wales (USW) and EFL Trust, our two-year Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development provides the opportunity for you to gain an industry recognised coaching award while being affiliated to Blackpool Football Club.

This award winning course provides you with the skills and qualities that are required to work within a professional football club community department or national governing body (e.g. The FA) in areas such as social inclusion, community coaching and football development.

In my opinion, there is genuinely no better education offer available locally for people that want a career in Sport. The support, education offer and enrichment opportunities alongside working in a leading sport and leisure charity puts us above the rest, so please do get in contact for further information.

Keeping People Connected

We are proud to host a range of armed forces programmes within the community. This includes serving personnel, families, veterans and families of veterans.

Within our sessions, veterans have the chance to engage with other members of the armed forces community, providing an opportunity to rediscover the unique camaraderie of serving soldiers. This includes coffee mornings, breakfast clubs, walking and running football, and the opportunity to represent Blackpool FC in veterans competitions against other clubs in the NW.

Due to COVID19, face to face community provisions have had to be suspended. However, continuing to keep participants connected is something we have endeavoured to do throughout this challenging time.

Next week is Loneliness Awareness Week which is a week dedicated to understanding and encouraging conversations about loneliness.  Throughout the last few months, in addition to the Community Hubs we have been supporting to help provide local people with food parcels and health and well being checks, we have continued to keep in touch with our participants through online sessions, virtual discussions, phone calls and Live Facebook video walks on a Tuesday and Saturday mornings.  If you would like to take part, please contact: Dave.Marsland@bfcct.co.uk

Furthermore, Marianna Mitchel and Anthony Finch, who both volunteer for the Community Trust through our Veterans programmes, have been down to work on the Fylde Memorial Arboretum and Community Woodland.  Blackpool FC & Blackpool FC Community Trust are in partnership with the Woodlands Trust and National Football Museum and have planted trees to commemorate the sacrifice of five former players. 

George Elmore, Arthur Evans, William Fiske, Benjamin Green and Fred Griffiths were all players who represented Blackpool Football Club but sadly, along with thousands of others, fell during WWI.  

Unfortunately, the area dedicated to Blackpool FC’s fallen soldiers had been left unattended and overgrown due to COVID19.  However, now that restrictions have eased, both volunteers and staff have been down on separate occasions to clean up, plant new flowers and make plans to do this on a much more regular basis. 

The Arboretum’s purpose is to “provide the Service Associations and the people of Blackpool and the Fylde with a place of peace and beauty in which to remember their fallen comrades and loved ones” and is the only one in the UK outside the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

For those wishing to visit the beautiful five and a half acre site, see the players dedication plaques and trees, you can find the Arboretum in the fields next to Moor Park School on Moor Park Avenue in Bispham, Blackpool. 

In the future we hope to create a gardening group so please keep your eyes peeled for more information on how you can get involved.

While You’re Here:

Volunteers’ Week 2020: Highlighting Volunteers

This week is Volunteers’ Week and Blackpool FC Community Trust would like to highlight one of our amazing volunteers who is still supporting the community during the Covid 19 lock down. 

Before Coronavirus put a stop to our face to face sessions, Bradley Bayliss, volunteered on a range of our Community Engagement programmes, including our Ex Armed services programme for Veterans to help past service men and women to socialise and find support. He also helped at Sporting Memories, which is for people living with Dementia and other memory related illnesses. 

Brad has also taken part in numerous fundraising events to raise funds for Blackpool FC Community Trust and the Blackpool Carers Centre. In October, Brad was part of a team that raised over £2200, by running 150 miles, coast to coast from Scarborough to Blackpool. 

During the lock down we have been running interactive virtual programmes that BFCCT set up to tackle social isolation for our participants.

Brad said, “As soon as I heard that the Trust would not be able to run their usual sessions, I offered my help for the new digital programmes. I have telephoned participants that needed support and someone to talk to, created quizzes and football trivia questions for participants to answer.

I also volunteer on the weekly Zoom sessions with; Veterans, Older Adults and Sporting Memories groups and contribute by bringing memorabilia to the sessions to create discussion points”. 

“It has kept me busy and active and has been great to be of some assistance to people who have struggled during this awful time. We have got some fantastic people in our groups and I am loving every minute of it. I am proud to be part of the Community Trust; this is something I have always wanted to do since leaving school”. 

Brad is also a student on one of our Blackpool FC Sports College courses.

While You Are Here:

Volunteers’ Week 2020: Community Hub

As the country was hit by this awful pandemic, it became clear that communities would have to pull together.

In response to the needs of the local community, Blackpool Council established 12 Community Hubs that would provide food parcels and well- being checks in a variety of areas. One of these hubs is currently running in the Bloomfield area by volunteers associated with Blackpool FC Community Trust. 

Volunteers have provided several hours of their time to the Community Hub, visiting up to 80 homes a week; delivering food parcels, checking on resident’s welfare and providing comfort in these troubling times.

Volunteers discovered that in certain homes, they were the only other people that the residents were communicating with. Seeing their friendly faces and having a chat provided some stability for them.

Jack is one of our elderly residents, who is currently socially isolated. When asked about the volunteer’s visits, he said ‘I love you visiting me, I look forward to seeing you at my door. You have kept me going recently.’

Other residents have been extremely grateful for the support of providing a food parcel in a time when financial hardship is at an all-time high. 

The Community Hubs would not be possible without the volunteers providing their time. Many of the volunteers have found working at the Hub extremely rewarding.

Michael Brown is a Blackpool resident himself and had this to say about his time spent volunteering, ‘As a local resident of Blackpool, I take pride in my community. The Corna Kindness scheme has given me the opportunity to give something back to the community where I have been brought up. It’s great that Blackpool Council are providing this service for our community in this difficult time for everyone.’ 

Many of the volunteers have now been visiting the same residents on a regular basis and as a result have been able to direct them to certain provisions, provided by Blackpool FC Community Trust, to ensure that the support within the local community continues. Residents who were previously socially isolated or nervous about leaving the house, now have a familiar face to engage with within the community and feel more confident about joining social and active groups when restrictions are lifted. 

The Bloomfield Hub has also been supported by other volunteers at local primary schools who have close links with Blackpool FC Community Trust. Children from Hawes Side Academy and Christ the King designed posters with good wishes, pictures and jokes on them to be included in the food parcels. Residents, again, were extremely grateful and appreciated the effort the children had gone to. 

Blackpool FC Community Trust would like to take the opportunity to thank all the volunteers who have spared their time over the last 11 weeks and to those who continue to support the local community. 

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Education Officer

Due to the expansion of our Education and Employability programmes, Blackpool FC Community Trust are looking for a new member of staff to join our vibrant and forward-thinking organisation, which helps develop a range of opportunities for the people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to improve their lifestyles, education and health. 

The Community Trust is an independent registered charity that is looking to add another member of staff to the very successful Education and Employability delivery team.

We are looking for an Education Officer who will deliver a high quality BTEC Sport programme, aiming to inspire and motivate students, in accordance with the guidance and outcomes of the BTEC Sport Curriculum and funding providers expectations.  

Please email selina.hayes@bfcct.co.uk for an application form. 

All completed applications to be sent to Selina Hayes by email or posted to: 

Selina Hayes, Head of Education and Employability, Blackpool FC Community Trust, Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool, FY1 6JJ

Applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday 3rd July 2020

Interviews will take place on Thursday 9thand Friday 10thJuly  

PL Kicks Goes Online

Blackpool FC Community Trust Premier League Kicks participants were happy to take part in the ePremier League #StayAtHome Cup over the past few weeks. This was an online FIFA competition for the young people who regularly attend the Premier League Kicks sessions.

There was a total of 479 Premier League Kicks participants taking part, representing their chosen football clubs community trust and foundations, 10 of these lucky young people were representing Blackpool FC Community Trust. 

Liverpool and Burnley boasted winners in the 13-15 years category, while players from Leyton Orient and Exeter City triumphed in the 16-18 age group. Although none of the Blackpool FC Community Trust participants made the final, they still really enjoyed the unique experience. 

One of the participants Owen Melling commented on his experience, “The tournament was really fun to play, it kept me busy and I enjoyed meeting new players online”.

The two tournaments were able to take place thanks to the support of the Premier League’s lead partner EA SPORTS and operators Battlefy.

These tournaments are a great way to bring together and provide entertainment to the upcoming generation of FIFA players,”said Sam Turkbas, deputy FIFA competitive gaming commissioner at EA SPORTS.

The tournament urged participants to stay home and save lives, as well as encouraging them to take regular breaks from gaming every 45 minutes.

Blackpool FC Community Trust’s Premier League Kicks project lead Michael Brown said: “We have seen how important online activities are more than ever. It’s really important during these difficult times that we give the young people of Blackpool an opportunity to take part in different activities”. 

“Whether it’s catching up with friends online or having something positive to look forward to during the lockdown, it’s important we are doing something for the young people in Blackpool.”

What is PL Kicks?  
UsuallyBlackpool FC Community Trust offer FREE Premier League Kicks sessions across Blackpool for School Years 3 – 11, creating opportunities for young people at the heart of their communities.

We usually have several Kicks sites in the local area operating across Blackpool. New participants should fill out a consent form which can be found on our website www.BFCCT.co.uk, come down to one of the sessions and hand it to one of the qualified Blackpool FC Community Trust coaches. 

As well as the free football sessions, Kicks also offers pathways into regular competitive football matches and tournaments with other Community Trust Kicks teams throughout the country.

We hope to see you all again soon.  We still don’t know when we will be recommencing these sessions so please keep an eye on our social media pages or www.BFCCT.co.uk for updates.