Sam Allardyce Opens our Social Inclusion Service in Blackburn
On Thursday 14th January, Sam Allardyce, Manager of Blackburn Rovers, formally opened Creative Support’s Social Inclusion Service for Blackburn and Darwen, funded by Blackburn with Darwen Council. There was a good turnout of service users and representatives from our partner organisations and great excitement about Sam’s participation. He was asked for many autographs and posed for photo after photo.
Maureen, one of the service users, bravely took centre stage and made an excellent speech before the ribbons were cut to officially open the new premises:
‘The Comedian Ruby Wax once said “one in 4 of us suffer from dandruff and also, one in 4 of us suffer from mental distress”, adding that she suffered from both! Although this is humourous, there is a very important message here; because if 1 in 4 of us do suffer from mental distress and most of us do know more than 3 other people, then we can conclude that mental health touches us all.
People who access this service are just like everyone else; we are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and the children of others. We have many skills and much to offer and contribute to society. It is appropriate that this service is called a ‘social inclusion service’ – social inclusion means that all people are accepted as equal and important within their community. Needing to be socially accepted is a need all humankind share – for people who attend this service, our hope is that being here will support us to meet this need within Blackburn with Darwen, our local community.’
All those who attended the opening were further impressed by the exhibition of service users’ artworks and also enjoyed the delicious buffet laid on. Sam and Blackburn Rovers’ Commerical Manager, Ken Beamish, also a former player, were impressed with how the service had developed, the dedication of the team and the important support they were providing and the active involvement of the service users.