AN NSPCC campaign to raise awareness of safeguarding standards in UK sports clubs and improve safety measures is being backed by Swindon Wildcats.
New research found fewer than four in 10 parents actively sought to understand the safeguarding procedures of their local sports and leisure clubs before signing their child up to take part in practice sessions, matches and competitions.
An online YouGov survey conducted on behalf of the children’s charity showed 38 per cent of parents actively tried to find out whether basic safety measures were in place before allowing their child to join a club.
The same percentage of parents said they had either never received or could not recall whether they had been sent any information about safeguarding measures by their child’s club once they became a member.
Tackling these issues and encouraging positive parental involvement in youth sports is the aim of the NSPCC’s Parents In Sport Week.
The town’s ice hockey team join Premier League clubs Liverpool and Everton, former British Lions captain Sam Warburton and sports presenter Charlie Webster in supporting the annual event.
The campaign calls on parents to make the Sports Parents Promise – an online commitment which helps them choose a safer club for their children.
Wildcats/coach Aaron Nell said: “The promise encourages parents to be a positive influence when watching their child’s games from the side lines.
“The work the NSPCC do through Parents in Sport Week is fantastic. On behalf of the Swindon Wildcats, we’d urge all parents to sign the Sports Parents Promise to keep their children safe in sport.”
“We are proud to be supporting them in this again, and wish for it to be a great success.”
Director of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit Michelle North said: “Sport is a huge part of childhood with many young people spending countless happy hours practicing and playing and making new friends.
“Checking on a club’s safeguarding procedures before signing up will give parents the peace of mind that their child is in a safe and secure environment.
“That’s why we’re encouraging parents and sports clubs across the country to make our Sports Parents Promise, because it’s essential that everyone plays their part in protecting children and help make every sporting experience a positive one”
Every sports club and activity provider should have a welfare or safeguarding officer as well as a safeguarding policy and the NSPCC is encouraging every parent to find out who to contact in their children’s sport if they have any questions or concerns.
For more information, visit thecpsu.org.uk/parents/sports-parents-promise
To support the NSPCC’s Parents In Sport week on social media, follow the campaign using #ParentsInSportWeek2020.
Former British Lions and Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton said: “For many young people, sport plays a huge part in their childhood, as it did for me, and now as a father myself I recognise how important it is that any child or parent who has concerns about safety, wellbeing or potential abuse is able to speak out and seek support.
“Safeguarding isn’t always a priority for parents when deciding which sports club their child will join, often overshadowed by a team’s success rate, subscription cost and the experiences of other families. If we are to make sport safer for our children we need to make it easier for parents to know how they can support a safer sports environment and give them the confidence and knowledge to act when needed.”