Blackpool FC Community Trust column: Assessing the Impact we've had on the community
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Despite the backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis, the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and operating in one of the most underprivileged towns in the country, we remained committed to providing support that actually improves the lives of local residents.
More recently, we’ve looked to adopt a new strategic perspective, emphasising impactful provision.
Last season, we pushed our team to evaluate the impact of their work and whether they could make more of a difference by focusing on building long-term relationships to create a meaningful impact rather than through fewer large-scale participation events.
As a result, this led to a decrease in the number of unique participants we engaged with – but a considerable increase in the frequency of visits and positive interactions, developing a genuine impact.
Among the standout accomplishments of the season is our support for women’s football in the town.
This has been a goal we’ve considered and meticulously planned for years to ensure seamless collaboration with the already successful Blackpool FC Girls and Ladies grassroots initiatives.
Our confirmation as one of the country’s first FA Girls Emerging Talent Centres on the Fylde coast highlights our commitment.
Esme Seddon, who had attended the ETC since January of this year, saw her progress rewarded with the offer of a place in the Manchester City U14 Pro Game Academy squad for the 2023/24 season.
Furthermore, the Ladies’ team playing fixtures at Bloomfield Road emphasises the club’s support.
We’re really proud of the progress we’ve made in this area and even more excited for what’s to come in the future.
In December, we launched our Warm-Up Hubs, designed to support individuals who may struggle to pay bills and put food on the table.
Thanks to the generous funding from our local council and further support from our club’s owner, Simon Sadler, we have been able to provide a warm environment, hot meals, activities and sociable company to more than 100 attendees on a weekly basis.
While it’s heartbreaking that people in our town need this type of support, it’s been overwhelming witnessing the collective effort to provide for those who need it.
The season brought its share of challenges, including the discontinuation of national funding for NCS and the Opportunity Area programmes.
Despite this, and other obstacles, we’ve dedicated ourselves to maintaining our programmes locally, recognising our impact on the local youth and their importance to the community.
Our duty to deliver successful programmes remains steadfast but securing the necessary funding for ongoing projects is tough.
With the added probability of further reductions in public funding, we have to explore inventive ways to sustain our crucial support.
However, the future looks to be really exciting as we embark on new facility developments and see the evolution of innovative strategies in numerous areas, with a specific focus on Esports and our LGBTQ+ community among other initiatives.
We take immense pride in our achievements to date and look forward to what’s next.