Our Welfare Officer, Helen Hever has reinforced the importance of making grassroots football as safe and enjoyable as possible following the successful completion of the latest routine Safeguarding Visits at local grassroots clubs.
Members of County FA staff made 33 visits to training sessions at randomly-selected clubs around the county during November and December as part of an ongoing commitment to ensuring best practice is being followed in accordance with welfare policies. Staff members consulted with coaches, volunteers and parents to examine the levels of awareness of club structures, how to report concerns and maintaining standards.
Helen was responsible for overseeing the schedule, and she commented: “We place the safeguarding and welfare of young people at the top of our agenda and it’s crucial we lead from the front on this subject in Essex. It’s the responsibility of every adult involved in football, so every club is required to endorse and adhere to The FA’s Safeguarding Children Policy.”
“It’s important to remember that every child or young person, defined as any person under the age of 18, who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse. We’re proud of the clubs in Essex who take the correct steps to make sure this happens.”
Dunmow United YFC Head Coach, Scott Forbes, welcomed the County FA to one of his club’s training nights and he thinks it’s essential that these kinds of visits take place: “It’s important that children come and enjoy themselves in a safe environment and it’s also important for people to keep this in mind because there’s a lot to think about.”
“We’re always trying to be better as a club and to try and raise standards for ourselves. If we can be a club that other people look up to then obviously that’s positive. It is very important to keep good practice, and for this to be checked. Local clubs should always be looking at each other to make things better for the children.”
If you are concerned about a child’s welfare, please call one of the following numbers: NSPCC (0808) 800 5000; Local Safeguarding Children (Outside Office Hours): (0845) 606 1212; Childline (0800) 11 11. If you are immediately concerned, contact the Police or Social Services on (0845) 603 7634 (during office hours) or (0845) 606 1212 (outside office hours). Additional welfare advice can be found here.