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 experiencing loneliness through social isolation. 

Blackpool and the Fylde Coast has a significant number of people experiencing the very serious consequences of loneliness caused by social isolation. It is within Empowerment’s Vision to journey alongside people giving them the confidence to make real life changes to their own lives and sometimes the lives of others. 

BESS is delivered by a service manager and a team of staff and volunteers, some with lived experience and referrals are received by a variety of professionals and self referrals. 

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 needing support to re-engage with social activities. 

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. The one to one work is usually done by the service manager and is there for those people who need more than a befriending chat. 

To make a referral please use the ‘make a referral’ button at the bottom of the page

Social Activities

BESS service offers a range of activities that have been co-produced around the community.

The groups currently meet online but plans are underway to take them back to face to face settings. We meet on a Wednesday 3pm for the Crafternoon Group who are currently creating knitted and crochet squares for a year-long project with the Blackpool Comedy Carpet as inspiration. Thursday 11am is the health and wellbeing group who are currently growing herbs on windowsill’s and exchanging recipes. The autumn activities will include visiting the promenade for the firework championships and tree planting. Friday was traditionally our coffee morning, we now meet online for a brew but have the added bonus of the quiz.

If you would like to attend a group activity please contact the Engagement Officer Here

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 next steps to this service is helping the person to engage in activities that will help them to make a meaningful connection.

To make a referral please use the ‘make a referral’ button at the bottom of the page

Claremont Digital Library

Claremont Digital Library is a project to engage men who are digitally excluded living in the Claremont Ward of Blackpool.
Set up during the coronavirus pandemic, the Claremont Digital Library project was first established by the Claremont Park Community Centre. There was a growing need for men to engage back into the community who had been digitally excluded.
In November 2020 BESS service manager Linzi took over the project building on the online social activities for the participants. Since then the group has grown in size and they have been sea fishing as well as planning a BBQ at the Community Centre. 
With a new member of staff attached to this project 2021 is looking positive for this group and they welcome anyone to join in from the Claremont area. 

To make a referral to the CDL please contact the Engagement Officer Here 
BESS in the Press
Claremont Digital Library Project in The Gazette

The BESS Service Team 

Linzi Cason

Bess Service Manager and Empowerment Community Engagement Manager

Gemma Clayton

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer

Mel Duckworth

BESS Community Engagement Officer

John Chippendale

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer

John Benson

Claremont Digital Library Engagement Officer

Heather Bunker

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer
BESS Activities Engagement Officer

Jason Rowland

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer

Make a Referral to BESS

#BESS Events...

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