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 a service that is comprised of four projects (BESS BUDDIES, BESS Activities, Claremont Digital Library and Elliot’s Place Project) and 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. 

This support has been paused due to demand on the service, if you would still like to make a referral please contact BESS as we may have another service that can help.

BESS Activities

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

There are three groups that the BESS team deliver each week. They are:

  • Chill and Chat Group meeting on Monday’s 2pm – 4pm. This group are meeting at Blackpool Cricket Club, Stanley Park W Park Dr, Blackpool FY3 9EQ. This is an opportunity to connect with other people in Blackpool for an informal brew and chat with volunteers. This group meet face to face but also have the option of online via zoom. If you would like to attend please contact the activity facilitator below.
  • Crafternoon Group meeting on a Wednesday 2pm – 4pm at the Lowmoore Community Centre, Edmonton Place, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY2 0UT for the Crafternoon Group. We are currently creating knitted and crochet squares for a year-long project with the Blackpool Comedy Carpet as inspiration. All crafts are welcome and we love to learn new things!
  • Friday was traditionally our coffee morning, we now meet online for a brew but have the added bonus of the quiz. The group will continue to meet online so if you would like to attend please email the activity facilitator below.

If you would like to attend a group activity please contact the Activities Facilitator Here

BESS Buddies

BESS BUDDIES is a volunteer led befriending service offering a weekly friendly phone call.

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. 

The befriending service is volunteer led contacting people via telephone each week  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 contact BESS here

Elliot’s Place Project

Elliot’s Place Project is there to engage young men aged 18-25 and play our part in fighting against the stigma that surrounds men and their mental health. 

Together with family, friends and strangers we will be raising money to help build a support space, specifically for young men, who are struggling with their mental health. The space created at the Empowerment Sanctuary garden will be called ‘Elliot’s Place’ in memory of Elliot Taylor, who tragically took his own life after battling with mental health and having nowhere to turn for immediate help.

Social isolation can be one of the various key factors to suicide and Elliot’s Place will provide a safe space for young men to access support and gain meaningful connections within their community. 

To make an enquiry about Elliot’s Place please click here.
Referrals are not open to this service currently as we are still in the first stages of fundraising.

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

Volunteer Vacancy

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Service

Mel Duckworth

BESS Volunteer

John Chippendale

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer

John Benson

Claremont Digital Library Engagement Officer

Heather Bunker

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer

Magdalena Galimska

BESS Activities Engagement Officer

Jason Rowland

BESS BUDDIES Befriending Volunteer

Make a Referral to BESS

#BESS Events...

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