BESS stands for ‘Blackpool Empowering Social Support’.

But what does that mean? It is a service that has a creative and innovative response to people who are High Intensity Users of the Accident and Emergency Department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Blackpool and the Fylde Coast has a significant number of people experiencing the very serious consequences of loneliness caused by social isolation. One of the key ways in which this manifests itself can be through the frequent attendance at the Accident and Emergency department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The term used for these people is ‘High Intensity Users’, at Empowerment we call them, ‘People’ people who are part of our community, waiting to be reached out to so they can experience meaningful connection and belonging.

BESS is delivered by a service manager and a team of volunteers with lived experience and referrals are received by North West Ambulance Service, Empowerment services and external services in Blackpool that work with the people frequently visiting Accident and Emergency. (To make a referral please use the contact form at the bottom of this page).

It is essential to note that BESS is a highly organised and professionally run service, however when interacting with the person, the emphasis will be on connection, relationship, emotional warmth and creating a safe trusting environment. BESS prides itself on being:

‘A Service which does not look and feel like… a Service!’

1&1 Support

BESS service offers one to one support to those people who have been identified as frequent attendees to the Blackpool Victoria Hospital A&E department.

The approach is holistic and person centered so that could mean a range of things such as going out for a coffee, travel training on public transport and helping someone make sense of their current support system.

BESS Buddies

BESS BUDDIES is made up of a befriending service and weekly online community groups.

Set up during the coronavirus pandemic, we did not want to stop reaching out to those who may be experiencing loneliness and isolation at this time. We have regular groups ranging from knitting, coffee morning and a gardening group. During these groups, we have a regular catch up and coffee as well as celebrating peoples lockdown Birthdays and take part in our plant project.

The befriending service is run by volunteers who make contact via telephone each week to people for a chat. The long term goal is to bring all of our BESS BUDDIES into the Empowerment base once the pandemic is over to hold regular community groups.

BESS Service

Linzi Cason

Bess Service Manager and Empowerment Community Engagement Co-ordinator

Gemma Clayton

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer

John Chippendale

BESS BUDDIES Volunteer

Jason Rowland

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer + Claremont Digital Project Volunteer

Mel Duckworth

BESS Engagement Officer

Volunteer Vacancy

Heather Bunker

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer

Volunteer Vacancy

Make a Referral to BESS

#BESS Events...

BESS runs a number of weekly friendship groups and they are open to everyone. These are sometimes specific to an activity such as knitting and book club but we also have social coffee mornings too. Below is a list of current groups.

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
28
29
30
31
01
02
  • 11:00 am

    BESS Coffee & Quiz

03
04
05
06
07
  • 2:00 pm

    BESS Crafternoon

08
09
  • 11:00 am

    BESS Coffee & Quiz

10
11
12
13
14
  • 2:00 pm

    BESS Crafternoon

15
16
  • 11:00 am

    BESS Coffee & Quiz

17
18
19
20
21
  • 2:00 pm

    BESS Crafternoon

Current Date
22
23
  • 11:00 am

    BESS Coffee & Quiz

24
25
26
27
28
  • 2:00 pm

    BESS Crafternoon

29
  • 11:00 am

    BESS in Show

30
  • 11:00 am

    BESS Coffee & Quiz

01