Community & Charity

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Andy’s epic MND challenge supported by Cod Army

Fleetwood Town Football Club is proud to be supporting local man Andy in his challenge to raise money to support those living with Motor Neurone Disease through a remarkable 535-mile bike ride.

At the beginning of May, Andy Rushton, aged 53 from Cleveleys, will be taking part in the UK Red Empire State 500, an epic cycling adventure that will see 23 intrepid riders, including eight ex-professional rugby players, hit the road from Niagara Falls to Central Park, New York.

Inspired by rugby legend Rob Burrow’s battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), Andy was so moved after watching Rob’s video, he decided he needed to do something to help raise awareness of this horrific disease.

Up until last month, Andy hadn’t ridden a bike for 30 years, so has been training hard already and along with the 22 other riders, he’ll be raising money for the charity Rugby League Cares (RL Cares).

The mission of RL Cares is to enhance and enrich people’s lives through the power and positive influence of Rugby League. Once all the sponsorship money has been collected, RL Cares will forward a significant amount to the Rob Burrow fund, which was set up to support Rob in his treatment and his family. A proportion of the money raised will also go to other players like Rob who are living with MND.

Andy will be raising awareness of his challenge at the Fleetwood v Rotherham game on Saturday 21st March, and he’ll be collecting money for the charity at half time and after the game.

“When I decided take part in this challenge, I shared it on Facebook and was astounded by how many people commented and said they had been affected by the disease,” said Andy. “I have covered all of the travel costs myself, which means that all the money raised will go to charity.

“Fleetwood holds fond memories for me as that’s where I went to school, so when I heard about Fleetwood Town fan Alan Morley who sadly passed away recently because of MND, I approached the club in the hope that they would help me spread the word. They agreed, and I am so grateful for their support.

“I have never done a sponsored event in my life, and I probably never will again, so I hope everyone can support me. Motor Neurone Disease is a horrible, terminal condition that has no treatment or cure, so we hope that this ride and the money it raises will play a small part in changing the lives of those affected.”

Andy Pilley, Chairman and owner of Fleetwood Town, said:

“On behalf of everyone involved with Fleetwood Town I am so pleased to be able to support Andy’s amazing fundraising efforts. 

“Motor Neurone Disease is such a devastating illness, and supporting this cause is extremely poignant for us, having only recently lost a fellow member of the Cod Army, Alan Morley, who was well known to myself and many others at the club, to MND. 

“It will be an honour to have Andy and his team of collectors with us at Rotherham match, and I’d urge as many people as possible to donate and show their support.”

If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, you can do so through Andy’s JustGiving page, and if you’re attending the Rotherham match on Saturday 21st March, keep your eyes peeled for him.

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New CSR partnership demonstrates BES’ commitment to helping the community

BES Utilities shows dedication to enriching the lives of individuals within the local area as Fleetwood Town Community Trust become their official Corporate Social Responsibility Partner.

As one of the largest employers on the Fylde coast and with most of their staff from the area, BES wanted to give something back and make a direct difference to the local community.

Last year, the Community Trust delivered around 30 projects to over 13,000 local people, and thanks to sponsorship from BES, they will now be able to change even more lives.

Fleetwood Town Community Trust is a non-profit, self-funding, registered charity which relies completely on funding and sponsorship to provide socially inclusive engagement programmes to the community.

To kickstart the partnership, BES are investing in a brand-new minibus for the Trust, which will provide programme participants access to community groups and events across Wyre and Fylde, and the sponsorship will also support their ongoing programmes.

Andy Pilley, Owner and Director of BES, said:

“On behalf of everyone at BES Utilities I’m delighted to announce that the FTFC Community Trust has been selected as our official CSR partner. 

“Having lived on the Fylde coast all of my life, I’m proud to be able to be able to support the Community Trust, which makes an enormous difference to the education, health and well-being of local people across the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre region.

“We’re really excited to begin working with them on a range of initiatives and can’t wait to get the partnership up and running.”

Matt Hilton, Chief Executive of the Community Trust, said:

“It’s such an honour for the Trust to have been chosen as BES’ official CSR partner. I feel that this is real recognition of all our hard work and dedication to helping individuals within Fleetwood and the surrounding areas.

“Making a difference within our local communities is at the forefront of what we do, and the generous sponsorship from BES will enable us to increase our offering and engage more individuals through our multitude of programmes.”

“The Trust has expanded at a phenomenal rate and our programmes have raised attainment in schools, developed employment pathways, helped people get healthier and stay more active, built stronger and safer communities and ultimately made a difference to a record number of people.

“This exciting new partnership with BES will enable the Trust to deliver bigger projects that have a wider reach and impact across Wyre and the surrounding area.”

The Community Trust offers many diverse activities that provide individuals across the Fylde coast with the chance to participate and enjoy themselves in a fun, friendly environment. They also have a strong focus on educating young people in life skills, promoting self-esteem, respect, sportsmanship, social inclusion, and healthy active lifestyles.

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Cod Army Chairman provides experience of a lifetime for Highfurlong student

Jack, a football-mad student from Highfurlong School, was given the opportunity of a lifetime when he was invited to Poolfoot Farm to spend the morning with Fleetwood Town’s manager and players. 

After pledging his support for local special school, Highfurlong, Chairman of Fleetwood Town Football Club, Andy Pilley, made a real connection with 16-year-old Jack when he visited the school last month to launch the partnership. 

Andy chatted to Jack about his football dreams, and invited him to Poolfoot for a morning to remember. 

When Jack arrived, he was greeted by Andy and presented with a goodie bag full of Fleetwood Town merchandise, including a shirt, scarf and autograph book. 

During his visit, he chatted with first team players who all signed his shirt, he watched the players train, met Joey Barton who had him laughing his socks off, and he was treated to lunch at The Crossbar. 

Andy Pilley said: 

“I met Jack during my first visit to Highfurlong a few weeks ago and was amazed by his football knowledge and passion for the game – he’s definitely the young man you want on your quiz team!   

“Jack told me about his dream to work in football coaching in the future, so I thought the best way to kick start things was to get him along to meet the manager and players, and to watch the first team training.   

“It’s been wonderful to see the smile on Jack’s face today, and since he’s already proven to be a good luck charm for the team, we can’t wait to welcome him back when we play Blackpool at home.” 

Jack thoroughly enjoyed his visit and can’t wait to return. 

“I had an amazing morning at Poolfoot Farm,” said Jack. “I got to meet lots of the players and they all signed my Fleetwood Town shirt.  

“It’s hard to choose a favourite moment, but if I had to, then I think it would be meeting Joey Barton – we had a good chat and he was really funny. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in action at the Blackpool game next week, and I’ll be there cheering them on. 

“I’m also going to be completing my work experience at Poolfoot in June, which I can’t wait for because I’ll find out what it’s like to work in a sporting environment.” 

Highfurlong School, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, delivers education and care to children and young people with a wide range of physical, medical and neurological conditions aged between two and 19 years old.  

Through the partnership, Andy wanted to not only provide students with fun experiences, but also the chance to learn key skills they can transfer to the workplace, which is crucial especially as they reach the end of their school careers.    

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Work experience proves to be a fortnight to remember for Dylan

Millfield Science and Performing Arts College student Dylan Merrick spent two weeks at Fleetwood Town as part of his work experience.

Dylan, a huge Fleetwood Town fan and keen sportsman, contacted the club to see whether he could complete his work experience at Highbury.

The 15-year-old worked in the ticket office, club shop and the administration office with the commercial team throughout the week, before finishing it off with Wayne Bibby, the club’s Supporters Liaison Officer.

As a reward for all his hard work, Dylan was given the chance to meet Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton before the Peterborough United match, as well as access to the dressing room to meet his idols.

“I really enjoyed my work experience at Fleetwood Town,” said Dylan. “It was an amazing opportunity that I’m really grateful for, and I’ve benefited from it hugely. I’m so much more confident speaking to people I don’t know, and going to different places on my own, working independently.

“After spending two weeks behind the scenes at Highbury, there is now no doubt in my mind that I want to work in sport, whether it’s coaching or refereeing.”

Fleetwood Town Chairman Andy Pilley, said: “It’s been fantastic to see four such conscientious and confident young people carrying out their work experience at Fleetwood Town. Myself and everyone at the club have been impressed by their work ethic and maturity, and we may even have identified some future staff!

“I’d like to wish Dylan all the best with the remainder of their studies and thank him for his hard work over the last two weeks.”

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School skills boost thanks to new partnership with Cod Army Chairman

Fylde coast entrepreneur and Chairman of Fleetwood Town Football Club, Andy Pilley, has pledged his support for local special school, Highfurlong, through the launch of an exciting new partnership. 

After seeing the staff and students of Highfurlong in action during a recent visit to the school, Andy spotted the opportunity for his various businesses to help out in a number of ways, such as providing the unique chance for students to boost their knowledge and employability skills.   

Andy and his team will also be providing bespoke sport and fitness sessions at the club’s state of the art training and community facility, Poolfoot Farm, plus offering support with design and marketing of the Highfurlong gift shop and other fundraising activities.   

Highfurlong School, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, delivers education and care to children and young people with a wide range of physical, medical and neurological conditions aged between two and 19 years old. 

Andy wanted to not only provide students with fun experiences, but also the chance to learn key skills they can transfer to the workplace, which is crucial especially as they reach the end of their school careers.   

They will have the opportunity to experience the world of work through placements at Poolfoot Farm and BES Utilities, and members of staff from a range of departments at BES have already shown a keen interest in delivering careers talks at the school. 

Students will also be able to take part in workshops during their enterprise class, such as logo design with the Marketing Team at Card Saver, where they can get their creative thinking caps on and contribute to the design of a new logo for their on-site shop, The Gift Box. 

In addition, the whole school will be invited to take part in an exciting competition to raise awareness of energy efficiency. 

“I was hugely impressed by the facilities at Highfurlong, but what struck me most of all was the warm welcome we received from the students and staff,” said Andy. 

“I’m delighted to launch our partnership, which will enable my various businesses, including the football club, to get involved and support this fantastic school and the amazing pupils.  I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone more over the coming months.”    

Neill Oldham, Headteacher of Highfurlong, said: 

“We are really excited to welcome Andy and his team, and have genuinely been blown away with all the opportunities they are able to offer our pupils. 

“It has been our pleasure to welcome key members of Andy’s team into the school and to receive their positive input. This collaboration has opened the door to many new opportunities for our learners, including a brand new football team kit for our newly formed team, the use of the amazing facilities at Poolfoot and at Highbury, and most importantly the access to a wide range of work experience activities.” 

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Green Team receive VIP treatment at Fleetwood Town

The Green Team from East Pines Park had a fabulous time cheering on the Cod Army from VIP seats at last night’s match.

A group of adults with learning disabilities, ‘The Green Team’ are responsible for keeping East Pines Park in Anchorsholme clean and tidy, creating a space everyone in the community can enjoy.

The football pitch at East Pines Park was in desperate need of a revamp, and having fond memories of the park from his childhood, Fleetwood Town Chairman Andy Pilley stepped in to help.

For the last 12 months, the grounds team from Fleetwood Town have been maintaining the pitch to ensure it’s always in tip top condition for a range of group sessions from youngsters to the older players.

After leading the transformation of the park, the club invited the Green Team, along with Cllr Paul Galley – who represents Anchorsholme ward – down to Highbury to enjoy the game.

For many of the team, it was the first time they had experienced a league one football match, and it’s safe to say, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

“It has been a pleasure getting to know the team from East Pines Park over the last year or so as part of our ongoing partnership, and we were delighted to be able to welcome them to their first Fleetwood Town match last night,” said Andy Pilley.

He added: “They’ve been really keen to learn what goes on behind the scenes at the club and last night was the perfect opportunity for us to show them.

“It was great to see their faces when they saw what was in store for them when they arrived. As well as treating them to seats on the VIP balcony, we also arranged for them to meet the players beforehand.”

Cllr Paul Galley said: “It means so much for us to be invited to the club. It completes the link between an amazing football club and a great park, with the special bond between the two going from strength to strength.

“We’re truly grateful for the experience, and so proud of this partnership which the whole community benefits from.”

Green Team member Shaun Simpson loved the whole experience and can’t wait to visit again.

“It was my first time at Fleetwood Town and I had an amazing time. The staff were all so nice to us and I loved getting to meet the players.”

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Cod Army Chairman backs Conservative campaign

Chairman of Fleetwood Town Football Club, Andy Pilley, has thrown his support behind the Conservative Party in the upcoming general election, as he welcomed the Tory candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Louise Thistlethwaite, to Highbury stadium.   

Andy, who owns Fleetwood-based energy supplier and the Cod Army’s main club sponsor, BES Utilities, took the decision to voice his support for the Conservatives due to his concerns over Labour’s plans for the energy market, should they take control following the December election. 

Louise was treated to a tour of Fleetwood Town’s state-of-the-art training and community facility, Poolfoot Farm, followed by a visit to Highbury Stadium, which is also home to BES’ headquarters. 

Taking time to meet with Andy and key individuals from his team, Louise was keen to learn more about the companies and the vital role they fulfil by providing employment to over 900 people, as well as local community investment.    

“It was great to welcome Louise to BES and the football club and I’m confident she went away with a flavour of how crucial we are to the town of Fleetwood and the wider Fylde coast region,” said Andy.

“Since the demise of the fishing trade, the local area has suffered from a range of social and economic problems. We are hugely proud of the part we have played in re-building Fleetwood’s fortunes, both by providing people with real career opportunities and also investing massively in Fleetwood Town Football Club and its community facility, giving the people of Fleetwood something to be proud of and improving health and wellbeing through sport. 

“I can’t stress enough how concerned we are about the impact Labour’s policies would have on our business, and I don’t think it’s going too far to say the closure of BES would become a very real prospect – meaning the football club would also be likely to lose its Football League status, resulting in a further significant loss of jobs.”

“We wish Louise every success with her election campaign, and we look forward to welcoming her back to Fleetwood Town very soon.”

Louise, who was recently selected as candidate for the Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency, said:

“BES Utilities is one of the largest employers in Fleetwood and is vital to the local economy as well as the community. It was so uplifting to hear about their dedication to helping the local community and their commitment to corporate social responsibility.

“Poolfoot Farm is an awe-inspiring facility with such a community feel to it. It’s a fantastic asset to the local area, and there is so much going on that everyone can get involved in.” 

“I also enjoyed my visit to Highbury Stadium, the home of Fleetwood Town Football Club and BES Utilities, which together play a pivotal role in the community, both in terms of employment, boosting the economy and in bringing the feel-good factor back to Fleetwood.”

“As a conservative party candidate, I’m so inspired to support the business community, and in return, they’re choosing to support us.

“Businesses drive the economy, and Andy is such an inspiring businessman as he knows exactly what the community needs. I feel so honoured that he’s supporting me and backing my campaign. Let’s get Brexit out of the way so we can see some of the incredible work that Andy, and other local businesses, are doing.”

Louise is already planning to get involved in a number of community activities, including the forthcoming Love Fleetwood meeting which will be held at Fleetwood Town Football Club on Thursday 14th November at 7pm.

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Join Fleetwood Town Community Trust in tackling the stigma of men’s mental health

On International Men’s Day next month, Fleetwood Town Community Trust will gather the local community and celebrate local men at an event which will be held at the Sea Cadet Base from 11am until 3pm.

International Men’s Day is celebrated on 19th November each year by over 70 countries, and focuses on raising awareness of discrimination and men’s health.

The event, which is sponsored by Fleetwood-based charity Men’s Shed, will showcase services on offer to men and women in the town with representatives from a number of charities and community groups including Healthier Fleetwood, Trinity Hospice, Lancashire Mind, Prince’s Trust, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and more.

The event will be opened at 11am by Fleetwood Town Chairman and local business owner Andy Pilley, and there will be guest speakers including local boxer Brian Rose (12pm), Men’s Shed founder Tony O’Neill (1pm), and Dave McPartlin, Headteacher at Flakefleet Primary School (2pm).

John Hartley, Community Sports Development Officer at the Community Trust, has played a pivotal role in organising the event, after Stuart Macrae, who is from the local area, approached him with the idea.

“I joined forces with Stuart to organise this International Men’s Day event to bring the community together and give residents the opportunity to find out about local organisations and networks they can look to for support.

“As well as celebrating men who have a positive impact on the town, it’s the perfect chance to meet new people.  By opening up and sharing experiences, we can help tackle social isolation and improve mental health across the town.”

In the lead up to the event, we would like to encourage everyone to nominate the male they think has created the greatest impact on the local community over the last year. The person with the most votes will be presented with a certificate during the event. Click here to cast your vote.

Tony O’Neill, Founder of Men’s Shed, said:

“This event is about bringing Fleetwood together as a community, and respecting the fact that men have feelings too. So many men bottle things up as there’s still a stigma surrounding men opening up and talking about how they feel, and this shouldn’t be the case.

“This is the perfect event to show men that there are others in the same boat as them. We want to nullify the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, and let them know it’s ok to ask for help.”

Men’s Shed is a charity offering peer support, help, advice and friendship to members. It provides people with a place to share their experiences and helps them open up emotionally, making a real difference to the lives of local residents.

Refreshments will be served throughout the event, and everyone who attends will receive a goody bag. Free car parking will also be available opposite the venue, on Rossall Point car park.

We hope to see you all there on Tuesday 19th November at the Sea Cadet Base, 140 Beach Road, Fleetwood, FY7 8PQ.

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Huge reduction in park’s anti-social behaviour thanks to Fleetwood Town

Fleetwood Town has led the transformation of East Pines Park, creating a hub for young people and reducing reports of anti-social behaviour by over 70%.

The football pitch at East Pines Park in Anchorsholme was in desperate need of a revamp, and having fond memories of the park from his childhood, Fleetwood Town Chairman Andy Pilley stepped in to help.

For the last 12 months, the grounds team from Fleetwood Town have been maintaining the pitch to ensure it’s always in tip top condition for a range of group sessions from youngsters to the older players.

Thanks to a recent grant from the Lancashire Police, the park has been able to acquire its very own qualified coaches, Paul Wilshaw and Dale Casser, who have developed programmes for FC East Pines 7-11 and 11-16 age groups.

The programmes are designed to teach young people about a range of topics including respect, bullying and anti-social behaviour, as well as helping them transition from primary to secondary school.

In the future, they want to create programmes which will teach young people business management skills, helping boost their employability and equipping them for the world of work.

Cllr Paul Galley and Cllr Tony Williams, who both represent Anchorsholme ward, are real advocates for the partnership between Fleetwood Town and East Pines Park.

“People have really started to believe in us, and I believe that’s thanks to the strong ties we now have with Fleetwood Town,” said Paul.

“The grounds team and Chairman regularly visit and have become a part of our East Pines family.

“The Club kindly donated a line machine, and after teaching us how to use it, members of our community with special needs now mark the pitches, and it’s something they love doing.

“The football teams are going from strength to strength and every Friday we have around 50 young people turning up to play, which I strongly believe has helped reduce anti-social behaviour in the area, as they now have something to focus on.

“Last year over summer, there were 28 reports of anti-social behaviour, and this year there was just eight, which is amazing. It goes to show that what we’re doing is having a huge impact. We couldn’t have achieved this without the generosity and support from Fleetwood Town, and for that, I am so grateful.”

Next year, Paul has plans to take over Anchorsholme Park where he hopes to recreate the success he’s had at East Pines.

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BES supports local charity through food bank donations

In their latest initiative to help the community, employees at BES Utilities will be providing food bank donations to Fleetwood-based charity, The Mustard Seed Group.

BES Utilities is committed to supporting worthy causes, and they will be joining forces with Fleetwood Town Community Trust to provide monthly donations to the charity.

Employees have been invited to leave items in a purpose-built collection box, which will be collected on the last working day of each month.

Joel Chapman, Head of Communications at BES said, “Our employees are incredibly generous and love doing their bit for worthy causes, especially ones close to home.  We are delighted to team up with the Mustard Seed Group here in Fleetwood and we’re looking forward to finding out more about how our donations are supporting the local community.”

The Mustard Seed Group is an outreach charity for those who are lonely, vulnerable, in crisis or people experiencing short term difficulties and complications to their lives. They hold a weekly session where they offer hot meals and a place for people to relax and meet others in a safe environment.

The Mustard Seed Group is an outreach charity for those who are lonely, vulnerable, in crisis or people experiencing short term difficulties and complications to their lives. They hold a weekly session where they offer hot meals and a place for people to relax and meet others in a safe environment.

“Receiving support from BES Utilities means a great deal to our charity,” said Hilary Craig, one of The Mustard Seed Group Managers. “We help people in crisis with food, household goods, and bedding, and we never turn anyone away empty handed. We provide hot meals to those in need, and it’s all prepped and served by volunteers. We rely heavily on donations of food and we’re really grateful to BES Utilities for choosing to help us.”

The charity meets on a Monday night at 6pm at St Peters Church, Lord Street, Fleetwood. Click here to find out more.

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