Ian McCleary: A Dedicated Armed Forces Engagement Officer Leading Community Initiatives at Blackpool FC Community Trust

Blackpool FC Community Trust is proud to announce the appointment of Ian McCleary as their Armed Forces Engagement Officer, spearheading initiatives to enhance the well-being of veterans and their families through physical activity, socialisation, and mental health support.

Blackpool FC Community Trust is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities. Through various Armed Force Covenant Trust-funded programmes and initiatives at the Trust, the aim is to promote well-being, inclusion, and community engagement.

Ian McCleary, a distinguished individual with a remarkable 22-year career in the British Army, served with The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, attaining the prestigious rank of Warrant Officer Class 2. Since 2004, Ian has been actively involved in volunteering for the Army Cadet Force/Combined Cadet Force and The Royal British Legion, particularly contributing to the Poppy Appeal. His dedication to serving the community continues as he undertakes the role of the Armed Forces Engagement Officer at Blackpool FC Community Trust.

Ian, Armed Forces Engagement Officer at Blackpool FC Community Trust said,

“Engaging with the Armed Forces community is not just a duty; it’s a privilege and a commitment to honour their service and support their needs.”



In his current position, Ian leads various veterans-focused activities to increase physical activity, promote socialisation, and combat the risk of loneliness among the armed forces community. Working closely with professional organisations such as the Armed Forces Covenant, Ministry of Defence, Age UK, The DWP and Supporting Minds to name a few, Ian ensures that participants receive comprehensive support to improve their mental health and well-being.

Among the initiatives delivered by Ian are armed forces sessions catering to serving personnel, veterans, and their families. These include a forces football team that trains on a Thursday night and participates in the Northwest Armed Forces Football League. Additionally, the Trust offers a NAAFI Break at Bloomfield Road, Walk and Talk sessions, and a Wellbeing Hub at Stanley Park, whilst offering a gardening group to help maintain our memorial space dedicated to Blackpool FC players who sadly lost their lives during the First World War at the Fylde Memorial Arboretum & Community Woodland.

A notable addition to these efforts is the launch of a new partnership initiative with @thethegrange with a new Veterans Breakfast Club held on Dinmore Avenue, FY3 7RW, every first Tuesday of the month from 9:30am until 10:45am. Veterans can enjoy a complimentary hot drink and a delicious breakfast butty, in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for socialising. The breakfast club provides an opportunity for veterans to connect with like-minded individuals who share similar experiences. It serves as a platform for building friendships and fostering a supportive community. The breakfast club is open to all armed forces veterans, serving personnel and their families, promoting inclusivity, and ensuring that individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences can come together to share common ground.

Mike Coole, Community Development Manager at @ The Grange added,

“Here @theGrange we’re looking forward to welcoming this new Armed Forces Veterans group. At the @theGrange you’ll find a welcoming place where you will meet like-minded individuals with similar experiences looking for a supportive community.”

For more information on the Armed Forces initiatives led by Ian McCleary at Blackpool FC Community Trust, please contact the Trust at info@bfcct.co.uk or call 01253 348691.