The season is now well underway and it is great to see football back after such a turbulent 18 months.
However, it remains incredibly important that Safeguarding is the number one priority for all those involved in football across Cheshire.
The weekend of 20-21 November 2021, has been designated across the whole game as a National Football Safeguarding Weekend. The weekend will see the launch of the Play Safe campaign, endorsed by the NSPCC. Apart from the launch weekend, Play Safe, will become the ongoing umbrella under which we will remind everyone of the importance of safeguarding at key moments in the season.
How can you contribute to the weekend?
- You can take some photos out and about at your games over 21st/22nd November and tag us in on Twitter (@Cheshire_FA) with the hashtag #PlaySafe.
- You can actively listen as a club to your Welfare Officer, to look at what is working well within your club and what could be done better.
- You could call out a parent/carer/spectator, who should have signed a Code of Conduct, if they are not adhering to the Respect behaviours and expectations.
- Share the FA’s 3 #PlaySafe films with ALL members of your club.
Keep an eye on the FA website for resources, videos and links to share with your club/league/DFA officials, parents/carers and players.
It can sometimes be forgotten that we have a high proportion of children refereeing across the County. It has been of big concern to hear of the number of cases where an Under 18 referee has been abused by an adult involved in football; whether it be a coach or spectator. This is completely unacceptable. We ask all Leagues and Clubs to remind their coaches and spectators of their duty to safeguard ALL under 18’s in football – including referees – from this kind of abuse. It will not be tolerated.
You can read more about our Yellow Armband campaign here
The Cheshire FA team have now begun to conduct random spot-check Safeguarding Visits across the County. This is to ensure that clubs are following FA Safeguarding protocols and communication within clubs is clear to ensure the safety of children within a club. It is imperative that clubs ensure all members of the club know who the Club Welfare Officer is, how to report a Safeguarding concern and the FA’s Whistleblowing Policy (https://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/safeguarding/section-2-reporting-concerns).
We are aware that in 2021, communication via social media/instant messaging services is more frequent. There are essential pieces of advice however that we would recommend you follow. Please see this article via the FA:
We are delighted to once again be hosting Welfare Officer Support Sessions this season. We have 2 dates confirmed:
- Monday 17th January 2022, 7pm via Microsoft Teams
- Monday 24th January 2022, 7pm at Vauxhall Motors FC
You can sign up to attend one of our sessions via https://bit.ly/3F3aXsK
Our Safeguarding Manager, Nadine Crane, is available to meet with Welfare Officers on a 1-to-1 basis either via telephone, video call or in person. If you require Safeguarding support or specific advice, please fill in this form and we will book you in https://bit.ly/3mY6VLR
The FA have a vast amount of Safeguarding related templates and documents available for you to take a look at, or use to integrate within your organisation. Head over to https://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/safeguarding/section-11-the-complete-downloads-directory and make the most of the excellent resources available. They are hugely helpful in terms of advice and extending your knowledge around Safeguarding.
Finally, we are aware that there are so many clubs and organisations across Cheshire doing some fantastic work. If YOU have an example of best practice that you do within your organisation that you would like to share, we would love to hear about it and then we can look to come and find out more in person, to see it for ourselves. You may have a youth forum to listen to the voices of the children within your club, or you may plan completely inclusive sessions – whatever it may be, let us know! Safeguarding@CheshireFA.com
If you need any help, please contact our Safeguarding Team (below)
Designated Safeguarding Officer: Nadine Crane
Senior Safeguarding Lead: Steve Smithies
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer: Greg McLean
Deputy Senior Safeguarding Lead: Danielle Shields
Let’s continue to ensure that Safeguarding remains at the forefront of our minds in our day-to-day operations within football across Cheshire. Thank you.