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.