Blackpool lifeline to lose funding but golf project safe

A Lottery funded project which helps some of the most vulnerable people in Blackpool will come to an end next year prompting fears about the loss of the lifeline.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 5:00 pm
Pictured from Blackpool Fulfilling Lives are therapeutic activities co-ordinator Amanda McVittie with partnerships manager Ian Treasure and CEO of Blackpool and Fylde Street Angels Paul Rawson (right).

Fulfilling Lives has worked with more than 500 people with multiple complex needs such as homelessness, drug use and re-offending issues, since it was set up in 2014.

Its annual budget of £1.5m has been fully funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with Blackpool one of 12 pilot areas to run the project.

But funding ends in March 2021 and no more referals to the scheme are now being taken.

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A meeting of Blackpool Council's adult social care and health scrutiny committee heard public health and NHS teams were now looking at how some provision could continue after that date, but this was likely to be in a reduced form.

Ian Treasure, partnership manager at Fulfilling Lives, said there were up to 1,800 people in Blackpool living with multiple disadvantages, and the programme had helped 529 of them.

This has included finding them stables homes and giving them the skills to turn around "chaotic lifestyles".

Blackpool's director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura said: "You might expect the most complex individuals would be in Manchester and Liverpool, but we have found they are in Blackpool.

"But what we have found from the evaluation is we make the biggest inroads and the biggest difference."

Dr Rajpura added: "It gives us a strong case that we do need something to continue beyond March next year, but we need to discuss that and those early conversations have started."

Findings from the Blackpool project will form part of the larger research and

evaluation being undertaken by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Legacies of the project will also include the taking over of the crazy golf course on the Promenade near the Metropole Hotel.

Investment from Fulfilling Lives will help homeless charity Street Angels create a social enterprise to run the course providing people with skills and employment at the same time.

The course is set to be refurbished in time to open for the new summer season.