The new lockdown has certainly caused the Community Trust some unsettlement and meant we have, once again, had to refocus our provision, to make sure we continue to support our Community.
Two examples of this have been our Tackling Isolation project, Pool Together and our BFC Sports College.
With so many people having to stay at home, keep safe and possibly even shield, that increases the risk for individuals living on their own to become isolated from their families, friends and wider community.
Most have seen the terrible figures, which have shown how people taking their own lives, for a multitude of reasons has dramatically intensified in lockdown periods and how being “on your own”, with nobody to talk to, support you and just be there can cause considerable mental and physical health issues.
To try to help some of the most at risk in this category, we have been contacting 700 individuals in our town with regular phone calls and door step visits to keep contact, check on their welfare and just have a general chat. If there is then additional support they ask for or we identify any needs, we can then support of refer them to the right people.
We expect this work to intensify even further over the next couple of months and this has resulted in myself being on a host of zoom meetings with Club directors and a group of local supporters, linked to the Armfield Club on Bloomfield Road, to discuss how we engage a group, probably the most disengaged with our normal provision to get the support they need.
Men, aged 20-50 who would probably not normally link into some of our social groups will be offered a new service via the Armfield Supporters Group, which includes a phone line to call to seek help and find out what is available to them. This is a great gesture from a group of volunteers, that simply want to help get people additional support they need.
The phone line will be open from next week and we are now looking to add to the 18 virtual groups we are already offering, with social opportunities specific for these men and if the same need is there, ladies too.
We have a great USP that will always get people talking, Blackpool FC, that we can utilise to talk about people’s opinions, past experiences and what they expect to see from the future. It always gets people to open up.
Our BFC Sports College has also had to go virtual and all students are now staying at home, linking into daily zoom classes and being taught full time by their BFCCT teachers through this method.
Our team have been out over the past week delivering laptops for students that need them, to make sure they remain engaged and up to date with their BTEC and Degree educations.
The team have also developed a host of additional ways to keep students engaged, now they cannot come together to train and play in their usual football enrichment. This week that has included an online interview with ITV Sports Broadcaster, Clive Tyldesley.
The talk was designed to offer insight and guidance for our students with relation to employability and sporting career pathways. Clive outlined his career highlights and explained his approach to his line of work. It was a great chance for our students to hear first hand about the opportunities that can come from educating and working in the sports environment. It also shows another example of the opportunities our students receive, due to our staff continually going over and above.