13: Blackpool and


By C. R. Ryan (Hon. "/^OME to


unstable come, and are urged to co^' in a last effort to stave off the breakdown. As yet, we have made If' ? effort to re-settle the large numbers chronic Blackpool patients who are s",

breezy, bracing Black-

and other publicity phrases to thousands of people, not only in England but throughout the world, means the Golden Mile, with its side shows and sea food stalls, golden sands, the Tower or perhaps the Winter Gardens, a superb setting for national and international conferences. But the picture we see covers a much wider canvas, the area of the Blackpool and Fylde Local Association, bounded on the north side by Morecambe Bay, on the west by the Irish Sea and to the south by the Ribble estuary. The district is fiat, its main areas consist of farm lands bordered on the west by a fringe of popular seaside resorts in addition to Blackpool?Lytham St. Annes, Thornton-Cleveleys and Fleetwood, which is also a fishing port of importance?therefore the main industries are agriculture, fishing and, in the coastal resorts, catering and entertain-




Elderly population

The bracing air makes the Fylde coast a popular residential area; the natural tendency of retirement to resorts, coupled with the inevitable migration of young persons to seek employment in more industrial towns, results in an elderly population?one in four of the population in Blackpool and two in seven of that of St. Annes are over the age of 60 and, to quote Dr. M. W. P. Carney, Consultant Psychiatrist, speaking at the Association's Fourth Annual General Meeting, "More than most areas, we form a reception centre for the unstable and the rootless who drift in from inland places; the bright lights and the pleasures of the Golden Mile attract the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the psychopaths and the neurotics. Since we are a health resort, large numbers of the infirm and mentally


contained in several neighbouring lart mental hospitals. Each year, three h1"1,1 dred attempted suicides are admitted Blackpool Victoria Hospital and we > have the second highest suicide rate the whole Manchester Hospital regie"1', These, then, are the mental heal problems of Blackpool and the and would point to an urgent need sociological study of the use and ab115 of leisure. ,? The North breeds stout-hearted Pe?L and although the problems are enorm0 ^ the members of the Local Associat'0, > are undaunted in their efforts to the Local Authorities and Hosp1 Service.

Fy^' f?r'f


Foundation of Association


The Local Association was forrn^ , October 1960 and from the oft5 received much valuable help and port from the Medical Officers of He*1' Consultant Psychiatrists, other workers and, last but not least, W the staff of the Local Associations partment of the National Associat' for Mental Health. The first Annual General was held in May 1961, and in a ' able address to the meeting, the , was Mr. T. G. C. Woodford, who that time Chairman of the Committee of N.A.M.H., stressed ^ importance of education for Health and a cautious approach at ] j early stage in the sphere of prac" Therefore for the first two yej work. the Executive Committee its activity on the educational






MeIijs ,


Open meetings the Consultant group




j address^ of the


and the Medical S^P



*tr"ct?rs and members of the ty'r"ctors "?dlands Social

Club, Whitehandicrafts From left, Mr. J. {Mental (Mental Welfare OfRlnS?n lCc'rh Ccr), Mr. A. Briscoe, Mr. F. ^ ^S' Mrs. ^rs- B. Faulkner and ^ J- Dodd (instructor). tp' }?toSraph ?t0^raPh reproduced by Co Cq 'rtesy of urtesy 0f Evening Gazette,

^"ilands Drive, ?rive, >ee


in the



Q?kpool.) a?kpool.)


of the


Mrs. E. Mr. Kenneth Son> Mp- During the last year tw such meetings have been held, by Dr. Russell Barton and D. Stafford Clark. The members of are grateful to all the who have ^een s0 8iv ?eneroVs in ,'nS their time to address our meetings, n addition to Open Meetings a half(j 9?nference was held and members Association have been guest snP i s at meetings of other local duh ant* associations on "The aims annS a Work of the Local Association."



facilities for handicraft and other classes and a large hall for dancing. Woodlands Social Club at present meets each Wednesday evening in the Junior Training Centre, and is run by a committee formed by members of the Club and the Local Association. One of the most popular activities is the handicrafts section under the supervision of Mr. Dodd and Mrs. Reedman who is a trained occupational therapist. These activities cover a wide field? model-making, carpentry, painting and



pressed t,rSt)e Association


C0 Ur'ng in I^.ittee

initial period

was very

funds, ^ls.'n? neir


Mr. Dodd not only provides many of the ideas, but in order to keep within the financial limits of the members, he is adept at finding ways in which the most unlikely materials can be used to turn out high-quality finished articles, such as reading lamps made from a mosaic of broken tiles and plaster, house signs and small stands made from trees cut down in the Club gardens, coffee tables, fire-screens and hand-painted ornaments. The Blackpool Council of Social Service recently gave a generous donation for handicraft materials, and in the near future it is proposed to buy a pottery wheel and kiln.


actively engaged

and it was largely due efforts that when the time came arn S?.uld assist with provision of at Belmont House Hostel ^hi ch to the Local Authority. Local Association has assumed res for the payment of the p'o1 Rediffusion service at the hostel, sP?rts and games equipment, and dot.?lVen financial help to residents for lng and bus fares. The Warden of a'so receives a grant to be Used ? ,0r residents' exceptional needs. evenings, film shows, etc., have the i arranged at the hostel, but during Committee decided that ^St ^ear transWou'd be more beneficial to to t^ose residents who wished, t0


1v!ties belongs

I^?nsibility ?


fte* beenCla^ vy*01^

c0ll! glands Social Club, where they J0*n t'ie activities of nonresid ents and where there



All ages

Members of the Club are of all ages from 20 to well into the seventies, and all find some suitable activity. One lady used to travel to the Club from St. Annes-on-Sea, but reluctantly she said the journey had "got a bit too much for





80 years old.


to the Club is one of the major problems, and efforts are being made to organise a

transport scheme from volunteers who would be willing to ferry members to and from the Clubhand also to take relatives to visit patients in hospital. Mistakes have been made; in the early stages there was a tendency to over-organisation at the Club, and it was found that other activities, such as dances, film shows, cooking demonstrations and beauty culture and music


are appreciated on average month. One of the projects at present in hand, which it is hoped will extend the work of the Association and stimulate recruitment, is the setting up of district committees in the Fylde; that is, the area of activity outside the County Borough of Blackpool. It was decided that the

sessions, once a


first of these committees should formed in Lytham St. Annes. Sever. meetings of an Ad Hoc Committee held and a Steering Committee forme A meeting was held at Rotary Hoi'5 Pleasant Street, Lytham, on ThursdaJune 18th, 1964, for election of1' officers and committee members. The experience gained in forming1 Lytham St. Annes Committee will 5 invaluable when the time comes to up other committees. We fully realise that our efforts so>\ have in the main been exploratory, a though the "distant goal" at appears very remote, with the help a!l encouragement which is ever read', given to us, and the real among our members of the importa'11" of mental health, we will press towards this distant goal. .



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