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Since January 2023, AFC Fylde Community Foundation (AFC CF) has been working with Fylde Council to support young residents who are not in employment, education, or training (NEET) through funding provided by Fylde’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) allocation.  

Since starting the ‘Fylde Focus’ project, the Community Foundation hit the ground running. Between April and June of 2023, a target was to support eight young people searching for jobs. Expectations were well and truly exceeded with 23 young people being supported during this time. Young residents involved in the project have been empowered in various ways, from increased confidence, improved mental health and wellbeing, and improved abilities and skills to boost employability. One of the young people is Matthew Dawson.

Matthew Dawson with Lancs Fire and Rescue

Matthew Dawson is one of many success stories from Fylde Council and AFC Fylde Community Foundation’s ‘Fylde Focus’ project.

Referred to ‘Fylde Focus’ by St Anne’s Job Centre, Matthew initially met with Natasha Green, AFC Fylde Community Foundation’s Employment and Skills Coordinator. During their meetings, they discussed how the Foundation could support him, and Matthew shared that his mental health issues were a major barrier to employment.

They regularly met in various cafes around St Anne’s to explore his options. Natasha suggested that employment would likely be the best path for him, but they also considered courses for additional qualifications.

Ultimately, they decided he should attend a coffee morning at Blackpool Fire Station hosted by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. This event introduced the 12-week Prince’s Trust programme, which they believed would help rebuild his confidence.

Matthew, 19, decided to apply for the programme, and with Natasha’s assistance, his application was quickly approved.

Matthew reflected on the programme, “It’s the best thing I have ever done. The activities have been great, and I have made lots of new friends, which has helped with my mental health and confidence.”

Natasha added, “Fylde Focus is a fantastic project because it allows us to help individuals like Matthew rediscover themselves. It’s been a pleasure assisting Matthew in finding something he enjoys, and I hope this is the start of a positive future for him.”

If you or someone you know could benefit from our Fylde Focus project, please email

Above is a picture of Matthew Dawson during his visit

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