Thanks to support from BBC Children in Need (CiN), Premier League, Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and the Department for Education, we work with him inside his school and also at our community programmes, Friday Night Youth Club and Stars Disability Camp.
Chris lives with autism and experiences severe mental health difficulties. Because of this, access to activities can be limited.
Chris first started to engage in Blackpool FC Community Trust activities as part of our Stars Disability Camp during the summer of 2022 after hearing about our activities through school.
Since Summer, Chris now also attends our Friday Night Club and “can’t wait for the next Stars camp”.
We asked Chris what his experience has been of the sessions he attends with the Community Trust, he said,
“I think it’s a fabulous thing, it’s enjoyable and it actually helps quite a few people around Blackpool and all that.”
We asked him what it was like attending Stars camp for the first time over the summer, he said,
“It was a fabulous thing. I met a lot of people, and it was enjoyable. It brought a better person out in me, and I found my true self.”
Since then, we have continued to support him during his school day.
For the Children in Need session this year, we have been delivering football/multi-skills. The main aim, as for all of our sessions, is to make it inclusive for everyone that is taking part.
Other aims are to increase physical activity levels in young people and to provide them with the opportunity to try new things, and for this year particularly, to signpost as many pupils as possible that we work with, to our community sessions (Friday Night Club, Junior Pan Kicks, and Stars Camp).
Chris now attends all of these programmes.
Thanks to support from BBC Children in Need we have been able to continue supporting him through working with his school.
We spoke to Chris’s mum, Sally, to hear her views on how our disability programs have impacted Chris. She said,
“Chris has never attended anything before, as we weren’t aware of anything for him. It wasn’t until his school mentioned the Trust to us, that we became aware of a programme suited to his needs. And he now loves going to Friday Night Club and can’t wait for the next half-term camp. He enjoys going and has met new friends and attending keeps his mind occupied. It’s his space and time.”.
Paul, the staff member who delivers on the disability programme, said of Chris,
“It’s a pleasure having Chris attend our programmes. I see him in school and at our Stars Camp and he now also attends our Friday Night Club. We have built a good relationship with Chris and his mum, and, as far as I can tell, Chris really enjoys seeing us, whether at school or when attending our community programmes. We’re very grateful for the funding we receive to deliver these programmes that make a positive impact on children and young people, such as Chris.”
We asked Chris what he would say to someone who has never engaged with the Community Trust before and is thinking of coming, he said,
“I would say it’s an enjoyable place. It’s basically a safe place for you to express your feelings and you can get exercise and you can have fun with new people and meet new people.”
Our next Stars Disability Camp will take place on Monday 19th December through to Thursday 22nd December.
If you know a young person who would benefit from these activities please get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 01253 348 691 or following BFCCT on social media.