With a 45% higher crime rate than the overall rate for Lancashire, it is evident that more preventative work needs to be done with young people in Blackpool, to break the cycle of offending. Launched in July 2020, Tower Above, an early intervention programme, focuses on preventing young people from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and/or crime. The programme has already supported 40 young people and delivered over 800 hours of mentoring and is making a real impact to the lives of young people and their families.
Funded by the Premier League Communities Fund and Blackpool Council, the referral-based programme works in partnership with Blackpool Council’s Early Help & Support Team, identifying 8–12-year-olds, who may be at risk of involvement in negative and/or offending behaviours. Community Cohesion Mentors combine one-to-one mentoring with a variety of sports, as a way to engage young people and build a positive relationship, with a key focus being on goal setting and improving young people’s behaviour at home, school and in the community.
Brett Whitehead, Community Cohesion Manager at BFCCT
“We’re all so proud of the huge impact Tower Above has had in such a short space of time. The team have done a fantastic job in building positive relationships and equipping young people with the tools they need to make better decisions in life. We’ve seen lots of positive changes in young people, from improved relationships at home to increased participation in community sport activities, this has ultimately led to a reduction in school exclusions, police reports and incidents”.
Sessions are catered to young people’s individual needs, taking into consideration the challenges and issues they may be dealing with, as well as fostering their talents and interests. Sports such as football, basketball, archery and table tennis have all served as a way to prompt discussions and activities that focus on themes such as personal morals and values, relationships, resilience and local issues such as knife crime and anti-social behaviour. Young people receive a maximum of 20 sessions and set out regular goals they want to achieve. At the end of the programme, young people are supported to access positive exit routes to further support the positive changes they have made and to deter them away from negative peers and/or behaviours.
18 young people are now attending Premier League Kicks sessions
6 young people now play grassroots football
6 young people now attend local youth groups
2 young people now have Blackpool FC season tickets
Tower Above works in partnership with Blackpool Council’s Early Help & Support Team and liaises with young people’s families, school and other agencies to offer a holistic approach.
Young people that successfully complete 20 sessions are gifted with a Blackpool FC shirt, with some young people also choosing to attend a Blackpool FC game as part of their final reward session. Many of the young people who have accessed the provision are now proud ‘Seasiders’, continuing the Trust’s tradition of connecting its community to the football club. The positive impact has also been recognised by parents/carers who have been able to see their children flourish, with one parent commenting, “Tower Above has helped and changed not only my son but the family home to. I can’t thank the staff enough for the help and support over these past few months”.
Blackpool FC Community Trust Aims and Objectives
- To establish programmes of activity for the benefit of the local community.
- To develop and promote programmes aimed at healthier lifestyles for the local community.
- To develop and provide education and learning opportunities for local people.
- To work in partnership with local groups, associations and organisations to help develop programmes of work and activities throughout the local area for the benefit of all.
- To promote equal opportunities for all – and equality of access to all activities.
For all press and media enquiries, please contact Jack Shields on 01253 348691 or Jack.Shields@bfcct.co.uk