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 is 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 co-ordinator 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.

The #BESSPledge

BESS has an ambitious vision of a Fylde Coast where the scourge of loneliness caused by social isolation is eradicated from our communities, forever!

The BESS Pledge is a tool that we are asking employers in Blackpool to sign up to so that they are raising awareness and are proud to recognise and understand that social isolation and loneliness is something that anyone can experience. By signing the pledge, they are offering employees time to come together once a month for a social activity within work time. This helps to build meaningful connections and reduce feelings of isolation during work times amongst employees.

In return employees will then offer customers time to get to know them personally as a regular visitor to their workplace. By doing this they are committed to signpost people to other social activities and events happening in the area and make those social connections with those who may be at risk of being lonely through social isolation.

By helping those who are lonely you are in turn helping yourself to be less lonely. Sharing experiences can lay the foundations for strong relationships within the community – loneliness does not discriminate and there is a huge misconception that people who are lonely are certain groups of people but it is not. It is everyone.

BESS Service

Linzi Cason

Bess Service Co-ordinator and Empowerment Community Engagement Co-ordinator

John Chippendale

BESS Volunteer

Rauni Porter

BESS Volunteer

Heather Bunker

BESS Volunteer

John Schoales

BESS Volunteer

Lyndsay Schofield

BESS Volunteer

#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
30
31
01
  • 2:00 pm

    Online Quiz Group

02
  • 10:00 am

    Starbucks Coffee Morning

  • 2:00 pm

    Crafternoon

03
04
  • 11:00 am

    Coffee Morning

  • 1:00 pm

    BESS Book Club

05
06
07
08
  • 2:00 pm

    Online Quiz Group

09
  • 10:00 am

    Starbucks Coffee Morning

  • 2:00 pm

    Crafternoon

10
11
  • 11:00 am

    Coffee Morning

  • 1:00 pm

    BESS Book Club

12
13
14
15
  • 2:00 pm

    Online Quiz Group

16
  • 10:00 am

    Starbucks Coffee Morning

  • 2:00 pm

    Crafternoon

17
18
  • 11:00 am

    Coffee Morning

  • 1:00 pm

    BESS Book Club

19
Current Date
20
21
22
  • 2:00 pm

    Online Quiz Group

23
  • 10:00 am

    Starbucks Coffee Morning

  • 2:00 pm

    Crafternoon

24
25
  • 11:00 am

    Coffee Morning

  • 1:00 pm

    BESS Book Club

26
27
28
29
  • 2:00 pm

    Online Quiz Group

30
  • 10:00 am

    Starbucks Coffee Morning

  • 2:00 pm

    Crafternoon

01
02
03