Dear colleagues and partners,
I hope you’re all well and staying safe.
This week Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Southend Safeguarding Partnership (Children’s) and Active Southend (the Borough’s Sports Partnership) in partnership with NWG – the national child safeguarding charity, launched an innovative safeguarding in sport campaign.
More than 20 local sports clubs and physical activity providers across the borough took part in FREE ‘Safe To Play’ awareness training, to help keep those involved in sport safe and to get parents, clubs, participants, volunteers and coaches themselves, to talk more openly about safeguarding.
Sport and physical activities often place individuals in a position of significant influence over other people. A high level of trust is placed on such individuals by parents, carers and the participants themselves. In most cases that level of trust is more than repaid through the commitment, dedication and selflessness of people involved in organising and delivering sports and activities, but occasionally that trust can be abused. All organisations and individuals involved in sport should be aware of the risks and act promptly to deal with any concern.
Every child and young person has a right to have fun and enjoy taking part in activities without the risk of being harmed or abused.
Here in Southend-on-Sea, we strive to make sure that every child has a positive experience when participating in sport, physical and extra-curricular activities. Everyone has a role to play in keeping others safe and people should know how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation and what to do if they have any concerns. Safeguarding must remain a priority for all those who run, book, manage and oversee sports and extra-curricular clubs and activities.
The innovative campaign uses augmented reality technology to help keep those involved in sport safe. Over the next year, we will be working with a range of partners, community organisations and key services to raise awareness of safeguarding in sport.
With funding from Sport England, NWG has created the ‘Safe To Play’ campaign to provide local sport and physical activity clubs and coaches with FREE pocket-sized cards to distribute to their members, players, parents and guardians – https://stop-cse.org/tackling-cse-in-sports/
These cards, when scanned using a camera of a smartphone or tablet, will act as pocket reminders by calling up a range of engaging digital resources, including dramatized videos telling one family’s story of abuse in sport, video guides on how to identify the signs of abuse, top tips on how to stay safe in sport, and questions to ask when selecting a club or coach.
How you can help:
It is vital we have the support of our partners, so please share this email with colleagues, family members and those organisations you work with so that we can promote the campaign as far as possible and reach as many people as we can. If you work with or know a club, coach or physical activity provider who would be interested in becoming a Safe To Play partner, then please ask them to get in touch – details below.
Please also help by promoting the campaign on social media using the hashtags:
Let’s not shy away from talking about something so important – everyone has a role to play in keeping others safe.
Be proud to stand up and speak loud about safeguarding in your sport and in your local club and together we can help prevent children and young people from being harmed or abused.
How to become a ‘Safe To Play’ partner in Southend-on-Sea.
Becoming a ‘Safe To Play’ partner is extremely important – it will now be a key requirement for Southend-on-Sea Brough Council when selecting coaches, clubs and physical activity providers to work with, that they have attended a FREE ‘Safe To Play’ awareness session and become a ‘Safe To Play’ partner.
We want to see ‘Safe To Play’ cards and resources featured in all our local sports clubs and coaches being proactive with parents, carers, children and young people – invite them to find out more about your own safeguarding arrangements and help them to download the videos from the card.
Alternative ‘Safe To Play’ awareness sessions will be arranged for those clubs who were not able to participate during the sessions this week.
Separate awareness sessions will be offered to schools, SBC staff and partners after the Summer.
Is it ‘Safe To Play?’ – Tips and Advice
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Sport and Leisure Team would urge parents, carers and guardians, to look for a club, sport, activity and coach that takes the safety and wellbeing of your child seriously.
Summer can present opportunities for those not affiliated to any sport governing body or active partnership, to exploit the situation and set up activities in parks and green spaces which could initially appear to be legitimate holiday activities.
Always check whether the club or organisation is accredited or otherwise affiliated to a body (e.g. a sports governing body or national voluntary sector) as this should mean they have the right safeguarding policies and procedures in place.
Even if they are accredited, there are some key things to look for to ensure they take children’s safety seriously.
- Review their website or the information you may have been sent. Do not be influenced by glossy flyers, smiley children in pictures and lots of quotes from ‘satisfied’ parents.
- Look for safeguarding policies – these should be fully accessible, visible and readily available on their website. Hard copies should also be available on request. If they are not visible or available, then please think twice about sending your child into the care of someone who does not have safeguarding arrangements in place.
- Where is the sports activity taking place? Is it COVID-19 secure? If it is on the grounds of a school or a leisure centre, then please ask the headteacher or centre manager about what due diligence has taken place to ensure the clubs providing activities have the correct safeguarding procedures in place.
- A safe recruitment process for staff and volunteers, including vetting. This means that they have appropriate references, DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks – please ask about the last time these were renewed, we recommend every three years and also ensure the staff have the right technical qualifications for the activity.
- What safeguarding training have staff and volunteers received and can you see the evidence of when this training was delivered. What about new staff, as coaches do move around quite frequently
- Check if they have a code of conduct/practice for sports coaches – this code provides a guide for good and safe coaching practice. A good code will be incorporated into the club and its policies, procedures, governance and training and will not be a stand-alone document
- First Aid procedures – what happens if a child is taken ill? What are the club’s policies and how many people at the club have full first aid certificates?
- Is there a designated welfare officer/safeguarding lead? – find out who the point of contact is that you or your child can speak to if you have any concerns or worries
- Parents/carers should speak with their child/children often to ensure they are happy and have no concerns. Maintaining an open dialogue with your child/children is very important.
- Safe To Play Southend – https://www.activesouthend.com/news/article/6/-safe-to-play-
- See The Signs – https://www.seethesigns.org.uk/
- NWG Network – https://www.nwgnetwork.org/
- Sport England – https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/safeguarding
- The Child Protection in Sport Unit – https://thecpsu.org.uk/
- Ann Craft Trust – https://www.anncrafttrust.org/
Please do contact me if you have any questions.
Have a great Summer.
Kirsty Horseman Project Manager – Sport and Leisure Culture, Tourism & Property, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Floor 13, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6ER
Office: (01702) 212057
Mobile: 07826 563 364