Blackpool FC Community Trust, with support from the Premier League and Blackpool Public Health, will this academic year support local Year 10 pupils prepare for exams with a new mental health provision called PL Inspires.

£180,000 of funding has been secured to provide this programme for the next three years.

After consultation with local young people, it was discovered that the biggest cause of anxiety and stress for 15-16 year olds was the fear of exams.

The Trust will now offer local secondary schools a 20 hour programme, focused on raising aspirations, reducing anxiety and developing coping mechanisms and relaxation techniques, to support the young people through the difficult time of exams.

The programme, which is part of the resilience revolution, has been developed by the Trust’s Head of Education and Employability, Selina Hayes and PL Inspires Coordinator, Simon Smith, with support from Headstart Blackpool. The Trust will employ two members of staff to help young people in Blackpool schools to have a positive outlook on a difficult period and support those currently on the cusp of gaining GCSE grades 4-5.

Ashley Hackett, Chief Executive Officer of Blackpool FC Community Trust, said, “This programme is another example of the quality of provision that the Trust are developing to support local people in the town. PL Inspires is a prime example of where we have worked with local and national partners to understand local people’s needs and them found a way to help. We were identified as one of only 30 clubs in the country to be able to access Premier League funding for an Inspires topic and we have been very lucky to also receive support from our local public health team.”

Dr. Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health, Blackpool Council, said “We know that exam time can be a real source of stress for our young people in Blackpool.  Those taking part in PL Inspires will develop the skills and techniques they need to cope, not just with exams but with other challenging times in their lives too.  We‘re proud to support this programme and are looking forward to seeing the positive impact it has.”

Provision in local secondary schools will begin in January 2020.