CEO: Tackling Isolation

Over the pandemic we have had to come up with new ways to keep people engaged. This has included health and well-being checks, phone calls, social groups via video calls and virtual quizzes and walks.

Due to the impact that this work has had, we were included in a bid made by the EFL Trust to DCMS to continue this work for the rest of 2020, alongside 31 other football community club organisations.

This work includes door step visits, regular phone calls and lots of online delivery. We’re really excited to continue this work and know that we will have a great impact on the 700 people we will engage.

The hope is when the majority of these residents can stop shielding at home or build up the courage to re-engage with community activity, they will start to attend the many social inclusion groups we deliver, including Sporting Memories, Walking Football and Extra Time.

This is the direction we want to progress in, as part of our new three year strategy, which focuses on the Community Trust becoming a Social Prescriber. This means people will be referred to us and we will help find solutions via our programmes, other third sector groups and local authority services to get people involved in activity, as opposed to just directing them to medication.

A great example here could be an individual that is obese and needs to lose weight or risk a life including type-2 diabetes and being at greater risk to COVID-19. If they were referred to us, they could attend our free weight management programme, FitFans, for 13 weeks and gain a group of friends that are on a similar journey and are able to support each other. This is an example where referring into community activity can prevent illnesses and also reduce the need for prescribed medication to help lose weight.

We believe with the support of our local public health, the NHS and the governments new drive to reduce obesity via its new Better Health campaign, local organisations that can engage and inspire local people to do the right thing will be needed. At that point it’s time for Blackpool FC Community Trust to step in and support.

We also welcome the final few members of staff back into work this week, meaning that all of our 60 staff are back working, inspiring and supporting our community. It’s a great feeling to be get as close to back to normal as possible and we now start our journey in all building our charity back better.