We will Remember them – Match Day Special

On behalf of all the Fylde Coast Armed Forces Veterans, we would like to welcome Queens Park Rangers to Bloomfield Road on Saturday 6th November.

Before the fixture kicks off, armed forces veterans and service personnel from the Fylde Coast will walk with the teams onto the pitch laying wreaths to remember all the fallen servicemen and women of past conflicts. This will be followed by ‘The Last Post’ and a minute’s silence. 100 armed forces veterans have been invited to the game on the run-up to Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

Due to fantastic support from The Royal British Legion, Armed Forces Covenant Trust and Veteran’s Foundation, Blackpool Football Club Community Trust has been able to grow its Armed Forces provision within the community. This specific Armed Forces Veterans project has now reached its first full term and has grown in stature providing a glimpse of yet more potential.

The provision has had such a great impact on veterans on the Fylde Coast from tackling loneliness to support with employment and housing. Blackpool has one of the highest rates of adults in receipt of a military pension and compensation outside of Greater Manchester and Merseyside. Blackpool also has one of the highest rates of working-age veterans.

To get the ball rolling, we decided to gradually grow the existing Armed Forces sessions and find out what other provisions would be useful to veterans living on the Fylde Coast. A survey was sent out on various social media platforms to collect the data required.

Mental Health support was top of the list along with social activities and get-togethers following the lockdown periods. From the work already completed and the gathering of new information, we deemed it necessary to open some new provisions. The support now offered to veterans is now very sufficient and our provisions are well received.

We are not the only football club to support the Armed Forces community. Blackpool is part of a Northwest Veterans Football league involving other clubs such as AFC Fylde, Burnley, Everton, Curzon Ashton, Preston North End, Wigan Athletic and Rochdale United.

We offer a range of programmes to support our local Armed Forces Veterans and servicemen and women, these include the following:

  • Forces Football – Fun sessions to help veterans get more active and form friendships. This session uses sport to build trust and confidence with peers. These sessions engage individuals aged below 60 years who cannot access provision that is typically aimed at older veterans.

  • NAAFI Break – Weekly event at the stadium where people can meet up for a brew and a chat. Each attendee that has booked through the link on our website or social media will receive a free sausage or bacon barm and a hot drink.

  • Gardening Club – Takes place at Fylde Memorial Arboretum, to engage veterans in an outdoor activity that is relaxing, peaceful and gives them something to focus their minds on.

  • Welfare calls/support – For individuals who are referred to us by GPs/armed forces charities and are experiencing personal issues such as employment, housing, or debt management.

  • Vets on Steps – This is a weekly event where members of Blackpool FC Community Trust visit veterans who are struggling to leave their own homes for multiple reasons. Vets on Steps helps to combat loneliness and slowly integrate veterans back into the community.

If you, a family member or someone else you know has served in the Armed Forces and you would like to find out more about what we do, please contact us on 07597 786098 or email us at info@bfcct.co.uk. You can also visit our website to read more information.