Blackpool Football Club Community Trust and Blackpool FC in accordance with the English Football League have launched a new session called ‘Team Talk’. Team Talk urges supporters to talk and stay connected online, keeping the conversation around mental health going.

Throughout the lockdown period Team Talk aims to engage with fans and discuss issues surrounding mental health especially through these uncertain times.

Blackpool Football Club Community Trust are delivering ‘Team Talk’ through Zoom. Live events are created on a weekly basis with occasional visits from past and present Blackpool FC Footballers. They are on hand to speak with supporters and together discuss situations effecting mental health and daily routines. Fans can pose questions to the players and share some of their experiences at the Club. How are they coping with lockdown outside of the game? What motivational techniques can you share to enhance our mental well-being during this testing period?

Togetherness is the key to combating mental health and Blackpool FC’s Team Talk is certainly a good starting point.

This week saw current Blackpool FC players, Chris Maxwell and James Husband, join in on our Thursday evening session. Chris said:

“We were really interested to hear what the group had to say. Mental health is an important discussion to have.

“Forums like this are vital because sometimes people don’t have the immediate support network that others do. This gives the opportunity for everybody involved to support each other, and that can make a real difference.

“I was able to offer some of my experiences and honest insight into how I deal with things in my own life, and we also had some tricky football questions to answer, too. I think everybody enjoyed it.”

Our participants loved getting the opportunity to speak with some Blackpool FC Stars, one participant, Sue said:

“It was good to listen in on their thoughts. It is fascinating how some football players struggle as well. Sometimes you don’t realise how some people find it hard, never know what goes on behind closed doors.

Another participant, Scott said:

“Maxi [Chris] got me a bit, it’s a weird thing to know even more successful people have their own struggles too.”

Not everybody has access to the internet, nor are they ‘tech savvy’ and able to use applications such as Zoom. BFCCT have many other sessions available from doorstep visits (current safety measures in place) to simple welfare phone calls. There are fitness programmes which include mobility aids and a training plan to do at home. There is a ‘Sporting Memories’ session where a person will receive a special box of memorabilia and action plan to help with mental health and combating loneliness.

If you know somebody who could benefit from an engagement such as the ones mentioned, then please get in touch with Blackpool Football Club Community Trust at info@bfcct.co.uk.

Helplines and listening services

Samaritans: www.samaritans.org 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 (free from any phone).

Shout: www.giveusashout.org For immediate support text SHOUT to 85258 to chat by text to a trained and supervised volunteer. Free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Mix: www.themix.org.uk provide essential support for under 25’s including telephone counselling, 121 chat and crisis messaging.

Mind: mind.org.uk InfoLine: 0300 123 3393 M-F 9am-4pm

The Hub of Hope is the world’s first of its kind mental health database bringing grassroots and national mental health services. Using the location of web browser or mobile devices, the cloud- based web application allows anyone, anywhere to find the nearest source of support for any mental health problems. https://hubofhope.co.uk/