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Community Trust: Keeping Smiles On Participants' Faces

Latest Update From Ashley Hackett

28 April 2020

Latest update from Blackpool FC Community Trust Chief Executive Ashley Hackett:

At Blackpool FC Community Trust we strive to try and support all corners of the community and over the past few years we have developed our provision to be so much more than just physical activity.

Examples of this include social groups; Extra Time, Sporting Memories, as well as Coffee Mornings for local veterans that have served in the armed forces. We have also set up projects focused on helping local residents to lose weight on our project FitFans.

All these programmes are traditionally delivered in our Education and Community Centre at Bloomfield Road, to bring people together to combat social isolation and improve their health by losing weight, reducing their blood pressure and simple things like making new friends and putting a smile on people’s faces. 

This has obviously proved a little more complicated to do in the current climate, so we have had to adapt our services and find new ways to keep in touch with our participants to keep their spirits high and keep the engagement going.

Our Community Trust team has been fantastic in finding ways to do this, which has included hosting Friday Evening Sports Quiz’s Live on Facebook, as well as Live daily walks in the area to show people some nice routes to complete themselves, which have gone out to more than 51,000 people already. We have also been regularly calling round our participants, on the phone, to have a chat and check if they need anything.

For our FitFans programme, we have continued to deliver to our female participants on Tuesdays, Thursdays for our male programme, and hosting online educational classes on Zoom.

Whilst this proved a huge change for participants, we still saw 47 of them complete the 12-week programme. We started in February with 59 people, so we saw a 79% completion rate, in unusual circumstances, where the national completion rate in a normal situation is 70%. We are now working with the EFL Trust and a number of clubs around the country to host weekly FitFans physical activity sessions, which will be available on YouTube each Wednesday and Saturday, so please check our social media and website to find the links and get involved.

We have also started completing Health and Wellbeing Checks for Blackpool Council, as part of our Community Hub work, for people that the council, social and health services are struggling to get in contact with. This has proved very popular with many of the doors we have knocked on, the residents have enjoyed seeing our smiling faces and finding out about some of the activities they can get involved with, once we are allowed back out and about. This is now a service we are investigating continuing long-term, as we believe it brings great benefits to our community.

We have also had to close our mental health sessions for people wanting to use football as a way to combat their needs so we have launched two telephone helplines, for people to call and have a chat with our staff members, or to gain information on services that can be utilised to support their needs in this current climate. If you feel this service would help you, call anytime during the week between 8:30am and 5:30pm on 07939446367 or 07939156297. 

We’re doing our best to still be here to help as much as we can. 

Kind regards,

Ashley Hackett

Chief Executive Officer
Blackpool FC Community Trust

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