Blackpool has the highest rate of serious violent crime in Lancashire, for which the significant deprivation seen in some areas is a factor, exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. Despite this, though, Blackpool remains a great place with unrivalled assets, including the Football Club and Community Trust, who have come together to support the community through the development of a new Community Cohesion strand, as part of their wider Community Programmes service within the Community Trust programme portfolio.
To commemorate this, key partners gathered at Bloomfield Road on Monday to officially announce the launch of a new Cohesion strand within the Community Programmes team of the Community Trust.
“We are really pleased to have launched this strand of work, which we have taken a great deal of time and consideration to develop. Youth Crime and Anti Social behaviour continue to be an ever growing issue in Blackpool and being able to utilise our great Football Club as a mechanism to engage our targeted audiences is a unique and powerful way to inspire our next generation on to positive pathways”, said Ashley Hackett, Chief Executive at Blackpool FC Community Trust.
Jason White, Head of Community Programmes at Blackpool FC Community Trust, expanded upon this by adding “This is a great development for the Trust and town and we are immensely proud. Furthermore, while the focus is absolutely on making this provision the best it can be to achieve the desired outcomes, we are also looking to the future and have clear ideas on how this can be developed further.”
The importance of this work was reinforced by Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, who has provided support through his Reducing Reoffending Fund. “It was great to attend this fantastic launch. Their drive and dedication is clear to see. Policing alone cannot prevent people reoffending which is why I continue to support initiatives that break the cycle offenders all too often find themselves trapped in. By working in partnership with community organisations we can make a real difference at a local level and avoid offenders returning through the criminal justice system and make our communities safer.”
This sentiment was echoed by Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Clarke, who heads up Lancashire Violence Reduction Network: “This new community cohesion strand is an important part of helping young people to make good choices that divert them away from crime. We know the significant impact that role models can have on young people and by working in partnership in this way we know that we can make a real difference and effect positive change that keeps our young people safe.”
Ben Mansford, Chief Executive at Blackpool Football Club, expanded upon this: “It’s so important that young people in Blackpool have the opportunity to positively engage with this great football club, and make them feel proud that this is their club and their town. My hope is that the work that the Trust are doing – which we are delighted to support – will achieve that, and hopefully we’ll see more young people in Bloomfield Road backing the team this season.”