Blackpool FC Community Trust, with support from the Premier League and Blackpool Public Health, will this academic year support local Year 10 pupils prepare for exams with a new mental health provision called PL Inspires.
£180,000 of funding has been secured to provide this programme for the next three years.
After consultation with local young people, it was discovered that they felt there was a lack of support for them in relation to the pressure of exam stress, preparation, and overall mental well-being.
Ashley Hackett, Chief Executive Officer of Blackpool FC Community Trust, said, “This programme is another example of the quality of provision that the Trust are developing to support local people in the town. PL Inspires is a prime example of where we have worked with local and national partners to understand local people’s needs and them found a way to help. We were identified as one of only 30 clubs in the country to be able to access Premier League funding for an Inspires topic and we have been very lucky to also receive support from our local public health team.”
The Community Trust will now offer local secondary schools a 20 hour programme, focused on helping them become more resilient individuals, reducing anxiety and developing coping mechanisms and relaxation techniques, to support the young people through the difficult time of exams.
The programme, which links into Headstart’s resilience revolution, has been developed by the Trust’s Head of Education and Employability, Selina Hayes and Secondary Education Manager, Simon Smith, with support from Headstart Blackpool. Blackpool FC Community Trust will employ two members of staff to help young people in Blackpool schools to have a positive outlook on a difficult period and support those currently on the cusp of gaining GCSE grades 4-5.
Delivery began at the beginning of the year to selected year 10 pupils in the four designated high schools, St Georges, Unity, Highfield, and Baines. The first lesson was an introductory into resilience, what it looked like, and how we use it in positive ways. The pupils then undertook a series of weekly one-hour lessons, designed to engage people more positively and create situations for them to interact, discuss, and debate certain topics linked into supporting their anxiety and stress around exam preparation.
Lessons have been going well and the pupils are really enjoying the engaging style of delivery.
Kiera Threlfall, Year 10, St Georges High School said. “I’m really enjoying Premier League Inspires, it’s very different from my normal lessons. I get involved a lot more and there are more fun activities but I’m still learning just as much”.
These are some of the topics they have been covering:
- Managing stress
- Introduction to the Resilience Framework
- Coping strategies
- Anger Management
- Healthy relationships
- Creating good habits
- Real life mental health, this particular lesson was supported by U18 scholars at the club discussing the pressures and anxiety they face learning to become professional footballers.
They have also taken part in the Premier League Inspires Challenge which you can read more about here.
This is an excellent type of relaxation technique designed to think about the present rather than focus on what has happened or imagining the future. Here is a link to an example the students have been practicing in some lessons.
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