Blackpool Carers Centre is an independent, local charity and network partner of Carers Trust. We provide a range of services to support and enhance the lives of unpaid carers of all ages throughout Blackpool.
See the timeline below to read our story.
Blackpool Carers Centre is an independent registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. It is a network member of Carers Trust.
2022 saw the return of our annual fundraising ball, with the Glitz and Glamour Ball raising £20,000 to support our work.
We began our recovery through the final elements of covid restrictions, with larger-scale trips, activities and fundraising endeavours recommencing in earnest. Our Caring Corporates programme saw more businesses than ever before supporting the work of the Carers Centre.
Family Focus, our project supporting those affected by parental mental ill health or substance misuse secured another three years of funding, following an application to the National Lottery Community Fund.
We successfully underwent an external assessment for the Trusted Charity Quality Mark.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted significantly on the lives of carers of all ages. Our services were needed more than ever as carers were left isolated and at crisis point more than ever before.
The increase in mental ill health, substance misuse and exacerbation of other health conditions related to the lockdown restrictions and limited access to treatment and health services, meant that our support services and respite provision were in huge demand.
Our doors remained open as we sought to adapt our provision, think creatively and ensure that carers had access to basics such as food parcels and household essentials, alongside small grants to help to keep carers connected, active and healthy.
Whilst traditional fundraising events ceased during the pandemic, we pursued other avenues of funding to ensure that our services continued to grow and carers remained at the heart of our covid response.
Our CEO, Michelle Smith, moved on from Blackpool Carers Centre after 10 years of innovative leadership. Blackpool Carers Centre adopted a new Director model of leadership appointing 3 Directors taking distinct roles across the organisation in Operations, Resources and Quality.
We were successful in our bid for funding from Spirit of 2012 through the DCMS and Tampon Tax Fund to provide a music themed respite and support project for women and girls providing care to a loved one. This new and exciting project brought us together with the Grand Theatre to provide musical and performance related experiences.
Our Tower to Tower huge fundraising cycle challenge took place! This event involved 24 Intrepid supporters taking on the challenge of a lifetime, cycling from Blackpool Tower to the Eiffel Tower over 5 days and raising £68,130 In the process!
We welcomed more of the community and corporate partners into the centre with the hiring of spaces within our wonderful building bringing additional income for the charity and fostering new relationships with supporters and funders.
In Spring, were excited to see the opening of Escape Hair and Beauty services on site. A fantastic addition to Beaverbrooks House, providing carers and the general public with pamper and treatment services.
Our relationship with the RONJA Business Network began (now named The Business Breakfast). We became their chosen charity and host their weekly meetings on-site here at Beaverbrooks House.
Our service delivery teams became integrated with the NHS and Social Care Community Neighbourhood Hubs providing early help and partnership working to ensure that carers are provided with support at the earliest opportunity.
Settling into our fabulous new building allowed us to widen our offer to carers of all ages and to involve the community in events, fundraising and volunteering. Respite provision for young carers was strengthened with further funding from BBC Children in Need.
Funding from the National Lottery Community Fund expanded our work with children and families affected by parental substance misuse and/or mental ill health.
We hosted our first on-site garden party to celebrate Carers Week bringing together carers, families, the community, supporters and funders.
We were proud to become a licenced venue to deliver the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award for our young people.
During the first quarter of 2016 we were delighted to have been selected as this year’s DIY SOS and BBC Children in Need Big Build Special.
We achieved the Big Lottery Funded ‘Hand in Hand’ project after two years of preparation. This provides support for parents who are looking after children with additional needs.
A new Siblings project was funded by The Christine Walker Fund from Soroptimist Blackpool and District Branch and St James’ Place helped us to continue the Young Adult Carer project for 12 months.
The hospital project made strong links with the End of Life Care Team.
The charity worked with Layton Ward Councillors to run Layton House in Grenfell Avenue. It soon became home to the dementia project and our volunteer counsellors.
The Family Focus team were funded by the Headstart Big Lottery Fund to train on the use of the M-PACT programme.
Beaverbrooks Charitable Trust purchased Blenheim House on Newton Drive in Blackpool and this marked the beginning of a capital campaign to develop a vibrant new centre for carers.
As a result of the partnership with Beaverbrooks, we won the Lloyds Foundation Regional award for Enterprising Collaboration, North West. We were also finalists in the HSJ National Awards for Carers.
Professor Saul Becker took up the role of our first President.
During 2014 we developed a partnership with Empowerment and Age UK Blackpool in order to deliver memory screening and a discrete dementia support programme. We developed the very successful dementia training programme for carers.
We developed HUGS (Help, Understanding and Group Support) for those caring for someone living with poor mental health.
In order to encourage carers to self- refer, we opened the Church Street shop as a drop in venue.
Cash Quest for Carers annual fundraiser was introduced.
Our AGM was attended by over 100 people and we launched Rocco, our new charity mascot.
The Pilgrim Trust funded a Family Focus support worker.
In order to continue the legacy left by Progress Recruitment, we took over the Work Experience Project providing work experience to young people with additional needs.
2013 saw the beginnings of the parent carer project, Hand in Hand with a student social worker consulting with affected families. We worked in partnership with Scope to provide a programme of activities.
The Cranfield Trust provided a mentor to help with the development of a new strategy and operational plan.
We developed a strategic partnership with Spiral Health CIC and successfully applied for a grant from Triangle Trust to appoint a lead hospital worker based at the Nurse Led unit in Bispham.
PQASSO level 2 and the Carers Trust Centre of Excellence awards were achieved. We rebranded as Blackpool Carers Centre in order to benefit from the national brand.
We closed the Church Street shop and reopened this as a drop in town centre venue for carers. We also opened our furniture store in Bispham Village.
During 2013, our hospital project was featured on The One Show.
We accessed funding from Comic Relief and Public Health Blackpool to support the widening of the Family Focus project supporting families living with parental substance misuse. Both Children in Need and Esmee Fairbairn extended their 3 year funding for an additional 3 years.
Sainsburys selected us as their charity partner for the year. Hayley Kay from Radio Wave became our Ambassador.
The Centre started to provide work placements for students, one of whom prepared a paper on Young Adult Carers following her interest in this area of work.
This piece of research formed the basis of a bid to the Health Lottery in 2012 and the 16-25 Young Adult Carers’ (YAC) project was launched.
With a Santander Award (Social Enterprise Development Award), the Centre opened its first shop in Blackpool followed by a second shop in Cleveleys in 2012.
The Eric Wright Charitable Trust provided funding for a Business Development Officer to drive forward the development of chargeable services. Following this a decision was made to appoint a Retail Manager.
The tiered service was introduced across the adult provision to ensure resources were focused on those carers most in need. A new assessment tool was implemented to measure impact of interventions.
A programme of out of hours support for young people living with parental substance misuse was introduced.
We organised a young carers’ conference headlined by Professor Saul Becker and welcomed 100 delegates from across the region.
NHS Blackpool provided funding to support the core function. A Resources Manager and a Quality and monitoring Officer were appointed. The Centre featured on ITVs Daybreak Programme in December.
During 2011, NHS Blackpool worked with the Centre to develop a service based at the hospitals supporting carers in the acute setting. This work was based on the Moffat Report, a study carried out in Scotland demonstrating the benefit of supporting carers in this settting and the positive effect on re-ablement.
Children in Need provided three year funding for an Activities Coordinator in 2011 and this was a welcome addition to the team at a time when demand was stretching the service. The challenge was now to fundraise so that respite activities and trips could be provided.
NHS Blackpool supported the organisation to develop links with GP practices in its aim to support carers’ own health and wellbeing.
Dementia training was also designed and delivered in partnership with Alzheimers Society and Blackpool Advocacy.
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation provided funding for a Family Worker based in the young carers’ team. This step change marked a diversification of the work provided as mental health, substance misuse and family work became a key element of support provided.
A young carers’ tiered service was developed using Professor Saul Becker’s assessment tools.
Out of Hours Family Support Project was funded by the Innovations Fund during 2011.
The Centre worked towards Hear by Right and developed a young carers’ charter that was presented to Sarah Teather MP at Westminster in 2010.
Lloyds TSB Foundation provided funding for a volunteer coordinator to develop recruitment, induction and training guidelines for an effective volunteer workforce within a safe framework.
Rank Foundation’s Time to Shine provided funding to employ a Young Carers’ Champion. With minimal funding the Centre worked with a young carer who had grown up in crisis. This young carer was supported to provide training to professionals including teachers, doctors, nurses and social workers.
The project raised the profile of young carers in Blackpool and the young carer won a variety of awards.
Additional funding was provided by Community Foundations for Lancashire to support the development of the core function.
Rank Foundation provided funding for an Information and Promotions Officer. This helped the Centre to raise its profile locally by attending events and publishing a range of literature.
Young and adult carers’ support workers were appointed and the Centre took over the database of adult carers from Blackpool Council .
Over the next two years the Centre became established.
Blackpool Carers Centre opened at Norman House.
Local radio station ‘Radio Wave’ adopted the development and raised a significant amount of funding for the initiative. Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, launched this adoption at Blackpool Tower in April 2004.
In 2003 a steering group was formed to take the venture forward.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers provided 1/3rd of the funding for 3 years, matched by the PCT and an ‘in kind’ contribution from the local authority.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers’ Northern Office opened in 2000. Network Development Manager, Carole Cochrane CBE DL, contacted all local authorities in Lancashire to discuss the possibility of forming new partnerships. Blackpool Council and Blackpool Primary Care Trust (PCT) were both keen to form a partnership that would eventually see the development of a Carers’ Centre in Blackpool.