The PL Inspires Challenge returned to Bloomfield Road this month. Building on the successes of 2022, Blackpool FC Community Trust welcomed cohorts of Y9 pupils from our five partner High Schools to take part in the PL Inspires Challenge local heat. Pupils from our partner Academy schools : Armfield, Montgomery, Unity, Aspire and Highfield took on the PL Inspires Challenge on Monday Feb 6th in the clubs Matthews Suite. This year’s challenge reignited its focus on the very pressing issue of climate change and protecting our planet.
What is PL Inspires?
Premier League Inspires is a 15-week, positive mental health and resilience programme. It is delivered once a week, to selected Year 9 pupils across Blackpool. The primary focus of PL Inspires is to help young people reach their potential by ensuring they’re engaged, inspired, and develop the coping strategies to support them through the challenges of life.
Schools arrived bright and early to set up their areas in a market stall styled event. Having worked enthusiastically and energetically in their session at school, ably supported by BFCCT staff members, pupils presented their social action ideas to scholars from our College and BFC Academy players who took time to learn, engage and give feedback on their project ideas. Pupils presented a wide range of well thought concepts and ideas in order to reduce carbon footprint and deliver an eco friendly, sustainable idea for their school, club and broader community to engage with. Its fair to say our guests were wowed by the creativity and concepts on show and were given the opportunity to vote on each idea, scoring each project across three key areas: Presentation & Communication, Overall Project Design & Knowledge and Understanding. Leaners took it in turns to present their idea and answer questions from our staff and scholars who challenged and encouraged them throughout the process.
As pupils arrived to deliver their ideas, it was evident that some were worried, nervous and anxious about being taken out of their classroom comfort zones. However, after their first initial engagement, pupils grew in confidence and spoke with passion, honesty and intellect about their social action projects. School staff who came to support pupils were amazed at how their pupils developed the courage, bravery and confidence to talk and present their ideas.
Mr Brown from Aspire Academy said,
“I was asked to select a group of students for the programme based on confidence and resilience. I think the programme has really built the confidence of the students and they’ve really come out of their shell with a number of them succeeding elsewhere too. The students that have been picked have really focused on the sustainability of the project as well, and it’s really made them think about the environment they’re in and the sort of impact that plastic pollution has on the environment.”
Pupils also gave their feedback about the event commenting:
“I enjoyed the opportunity to talk about my idea and opinions’
“It was good to socialise and look around other schools ideas’.
The most important thing is that pupils enjoy events such as these and this was confirmed with 100% of pupils saying that they enjoyed the experience on their feedback forms.
The Winning Idea
Once the votes had been counted, it was time to announce the winners. Having articulated their ideas with consistent enthusiasm and energy, pupils eagerly awaited the results. Ideas had ranged from planting locally sourced ingredients for meals to be made for the homeless, to creating a flower garden to encourage pollination and protect our eco system. However, it was a group of pupils from Montgomery Academy who were crowned winners. Their idea focussed on a plastic cup recycling project here at the football ground which encourages fans to return plastic cups once they have been used. For each cup returned fans can earn points and once a certain target is reached then discount in the ground/club shop was granted. The idea didn’t stop there, once collected, plastic cups would be turned into merchandised bracelets to be sold to fans with all proceeds given to local charities. A worthy winner I am sure you will agree!
The winners will now go on to action their idea with a trip to a local Premier League stadium to further upskill themselves in social action and how to bring their idea to life. They will then go on to document their experience and project at a final celebration event in July. Watch this space and follow their journey with us.