Blackpool Centre for Unemployed & Residents Advice Service
A HISTORY OF THE CENTRE
The Blackpool Trades Council first discussed the idea of an 'Advice
Centres' in 1980 in response to the growing numbers of Unemployed people
nationally and especially locally.
In July 1982, a new radical concept was presented to the Trades
Council. Basically it was to provide 'Drop-in Facilities' for the
Unemployed: education, Youth Work, Crèche Facilities and Art and
Crafts. This would require use of a large building free of charge.
The new Scheme called for two Centres', one to be sited at the Grange
Park Church, the other to be on the South Side of Blackpool with a
Central administrative Office sited in the Town Centre.
It was to establish 18 jobs for the Unemployed at a cost of approx.
£90,000 from the Manpower Services Commission and was funded from May
1983 and then reviewed each year..
M.S.C funding became overstretched in 1984 and restrictions were placed
on the Centre. Eventually it was moved to a site called Marton Kitchen.
Then in 1986 to The Old school Buildings of the Sacred Heart Church
in Talbot Road. The Centre now had 6 staff and had to concentrate on
Welfare Rights with representation plus Education. Because of a new central
location the workload increased dramatically.
In 1988 the Government decided to withdraw funding for the Manpower
Services Commission and in August 1988 funding ceased to the Centre.
The staff continued even though they were unpaid, while approaches were
made for alternative funding.
Three funding approaches were made to Blackpool Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Trades Union Movement which had varying degrees of success. The Centre was able to meet its running costs and provide the much needed service for the residents of Blackpool. The centre, to this day, still has some voluntary unpaid staff.
In 1988 Blackpool became a Unitary Authority, and this had the effect of split funding for the Centre which resulted in financial difficulties. The S.R.B covered the shortfall in the running costs for 3 years.
In 1997 the Centre moved from Talbot Road to 29 Queen St. The venue was more suitable for our needs and we thank the Church for arranging this excellent alternative location for the B.C.F.U.
Photo: old Queen St office
Since then we have moved to 31 King Street.
The S.R.B. grant finished in 2001 and we made applications to The big Lottery Fund. Our first 2 attempts were unsuccessful and the financial situation deteriorated but we still managed to keep our heads above water. The 3rd attempt was successful and the grant started on the 1st April 2004.
The grant covers 2 paid posts and a small amount towards running costs, we have at the same time become a registered Charity and these two elements will enable the centre to raise funding and consequently give a better service to all people.
In 29years the BCFU has built a reputation of excellent service to the public, both locally and nationally and hopes to continue this much needed service into the future.