Coaching in the UK

Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code initiative

Fri, 09 May 2014

The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund (MTMRF) is working with sports coach UK, the Association for Physical Education, Youth Sport Trust and Child Protection in Sport Unit to create a free resource bank and accreditation scheme for the 'Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code'.

The 'Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code' was launched in response to the climate of increased pressure from government for children to follow a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, efforts to keep up the sporting momentum of 2012, and the current debate on the benefits or otherwise of UV exposure through sunlight. Balancing these factors, with a significant increase in melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, and the link between sunburn in children and the development of melanoma in later life this creates a serious challenge for physical education professionals, and all those who work outdoors with children. The safeguarding of children is now an integral part of outdoor activities but there wasn’t any standardised policy to protect children from the sun. All this changed from 8 May 2014, with professionals and volunteers able to register for, and access the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code, via www.oksunsafetycode.so.uk.

The MTMRF is funding the creation and development of the initiative; the aims of which are to ensure that for the first time, sun protection is embedded into coaching standards and all working practices involving physically active children outdoors.

Initially, the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code free resource bank will support all professionals and volunteers who work outdoors with children. The OK Code includes an Accreditation Mark scheme which allows organisations, clubs and individuals to demonstrate that improved sun protection measures have been implemented.

Over 25 Sports Governing Bodies and outdoor associations have already pledged support for the OK Code, designed to support the introduction of this standardised sun protection policy for children.

Harry Townsend, founder of MTMRF said: “If all organisations, clubs and schools embed the OK Code into their best practice, then there can be advances made to ensure that this vital protection for children becomes automatic. We would like government and local authorities to take notice of what we are doing; and together, as the initiative evolves, we hope to be able to make a valuable contribution to the standard of provision of sun protection for children.” 

What is the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Initiative?

Working with the Association for Physical Education, sports coach UK, YST and CPSU the MTMRF have created a free resource bank and accreditation scheme. This initiative encourages adherence to the OK Code, which requires active measures to be put in place to ensure effective sun protection for children. The OK Toolkit can be downloaded for ease of access. Following the code requires 5 easy steps:

  • Register
  • Sign the pledge to implement the code
  • Download the Toolkit
  • Complete the checklist to make sure that you are complying with the terms of the code
  • Receive and display your accreditation

The Toolkit

The downloadable Toolkit includes simple materials that can be used in a variety of ways. Signing up is easy for individual coaches or clubs and straight away they can use the OK Logo to show their commitment to the initiative. There will also be a range of supporting documents including:

  • Pledge
  • OK Logo
  • OK Sun Safety Code explained
  • Posters to go in the changing rooms and clubhouses
  • Checklists
  • Advice for professionals and volunteers  
  • Reminders and advice leaflet for parents  
  • OK Sun Safety Code Accreditation Mark Logo
  • Accreditation Certificate

Once completed, the Accreditation Mark will show that an individual or group has created an effective sun protection policy.  Changes will have been made to implement a sun protection policy internally and externally to have informed and educated both parents/carers and children on the need to be protected and how to do it effectively.

List of all supporters:

Supporters: 

  • Adventure Activities Licensing Service
  • The Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres
  • Association of British Riding Schools
  • British Horse Society
  • British Cycling
  • British Equestrian Federation
  • British Mountaineering Council
  • Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
  • Canoe England
  • British Canoe Union
  • Child Protection in Sport Unit / NSPCC
  • English Cricket Board
  • Independent Schools Council
  • Independent Schools Association
  • Institute for Outdoor Learning
  • Mountain Training Association
  • Outdoor Education Advisers Panel
  • Professional Cricket Association
  • The Lawn Tennis Association
  • The Golf Foundation
  • The Pony Club
  • The Association for Physical Education (afPE)
  • The Scouts Association
  • Rounders England
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • Sport England Clubmark
  • England Athletics
  • Youth Sports Trust

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