COMMUNITY STARS 2020: Bradley Bayliss

The Community Programme Team are nominating Bradley Bayliss to be a Community Star due to his amazing commitment and volunteering of 296 hours over 5 months on the Tackling Loneliness Together Project with the DCMS and EFL Trust. 

Brad aged 23 is a valued volunteer at Blackpool Football Club Community Trust and has been at the forefront, supporting the Tackling Loneliness Together individuals through weekly phone calls and garden gate visits. Brad has also delivered online social groups, which have enabled individuals who have been lonely and isolated to come online, socially interact with other participants and take part in several different activities, such as quizzes, bingo and family fortunes.

Brad began his volunteering journey on the Tackling Loneliness Together project shadowing BFCCT staff on their phone calls and online social groups before gaining the confidence and knowledge to start making phone calls and delivering sessions himself, as a paid member of staff. Brad started by contacting individuals who were on our season ticket holders databased and then progressed to having set group of individuals who have been referred in through external agencies, who he contacts every week carrying out welfare checks and quizzes over the phone.

Brad mentioned ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed playing a part in tackling social isolation in my local community. It has been a pleasure to create a bond with so many individuals and I look forward to speaking to them each week. The consistency of having a set group of individuals has helped to form a positive relationship with those who I engage with. The garden gate visits are a vital part of the project for me as it enables us to put names to faces, which again strengthens the relationship we have with the participant’.

With Brad being a young age and the individuals, he was contacting all over 70 years of age an initial connection was made due to Brad’s love and passion for Blackpool Football Club and his local town. An instant barrier was broken as Brad was able to speak to our participants so thoroughly about their local football club. Brad now has several strong relationships with individuals all of the older generation, which is a brilliant example of intergenerational friendships being formed.

One of our Tackling Loneliness Together participants said, ‘Brad’s knowledge and experience has vastly expanded through the short time he has spent volunteering on this project, which is shown in the day-to-day work that he carries out. An example of Brad using his initiative was when he came up with the idea to post out Halloween packs containing different puzzles, a letter from the Community Trust and a recent BFC match day programme.”