Saturday 15th August will be the 9th year anniversary since I joined Blackpool FC Community Trust, so I have tried to find some time this week to reflect on that period. It’s certainly been a bumpy road, with some significant ups and downs, but I can honestly say I have loved most of this time with the charity and we have had some significant successes. In that time we have gone from a team of 7 staff to a team now of over 60 and developed many new provisions to help our community, so there is lots to be proud of. I think it’s also quite easy to see that the future is even more exciting, with the revitalised Football Club, partnerships we have built locally and plans we have for the next few years.
This week we have also officially launched our new Community Cohesion strand of work we now deliver at the Trust. This area focuses on supporting young people and adults to disengage in negative behaviours and attempt to reduce anti social behaviours and involvement with crime. Jason White and his team have done an amazing job in developing this work and I strongly believe that this area will continue to grow in the next few years, because of the need and also the growing reputation we are building in this area. There are very few, if any, organisations and charities that can capture the attention of hard to reach young people like we can at the football club. We have a very unique pull to engage and then are able to back that up with fantastic staff and support to make sure we have an impact on changing peoples lives for the better.
We were also able to announce this week that Simon Sadler has agreed to continue his support for our Unstoppable programme, delivered in local primary schools. The work Jen Croft and Marc Joseph have done to develop this programme the past year has been recognised nationally and been held up as best practice by the Premier League. We intend to use Simon’s very generous support to find a sustainable model over the next twelve months to expand this work and make sure it’s in place for the long term in local schools. With Covid, this type of mental health provision has never been more important and we plan to develop a whole strand of work in schools around PHSE (Personal Health and Social Education).
It was also great to welcome back a past staff member of the Community Trust, Ciaran Donnelly as Academy Director this week. When Ciaran originally moved to Academy Manager we continued to work very closely and built some great initiatives between the Trust and Academy. We have already spoken about the links we will develop again to build a strong partnership. We have a collective responsibility to support local youth, so it’s a perfect synergy that I’m really excited about.