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03 May 2018 114

UK Coaching coordinating group to ensure welfare of next-generation athletes

UK Coaching is coordinating a sport and physical activity industry-wide group to develop a set of proposals for safeguarding and protecting talented and elite young athletes.

The group will seek to ensure that welfare remains a priority before, during and after involvement in a talent pathway.

The group consists of The British Athletes Commission, The British Olympic Association, Cardiff Metropolitan University, The NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), Commonwealth Games England, Edge Hill University, England Boxing, Loughborough University, Sport Wales, SportsAid, The Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, UK Anti-Doping, UK Sport, Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust.

This coming together of organisations follows the launch of the NSPCC’s ‘Sport Safeguarding Partnership’ strategic plan, created to ‘embed consistently high safeguarding standards and practices that are child/young people centric into the culture of the sport and physical activity sector at all levels – national to local/professional to volunteer.’

Four key areas of additional risk to talented and elite young athletes have been identified by the group: Training and competing away from home; general training and competition; club and training centre challenges; and support structure.

Proposals for these will be developed in line with recommendations made by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in her independent review of the Duty of Care in Sport; the EU funded ‘Safeguarding Youth Sport’ report; and other reports, including the ‘Culture of Sport’ work carried out by UK Sport. The group will also engage with athletes themselves as key stakeholders in the process, and agree on the appropriate way to disseminate recommendations to the sector.

UK Coaching's Director of Coaching, Emma Atkins, said:

“We are proud to be coordinating this group and are resolute in the matter of protecting talented and elite young athletes, and indeed all children who participate in sport and physical activity, whatever the level.

“This is an opportunity to ensure coaches, organisations, parents and athletes can support one another to be safe and successful.

“By investing in this group, we remain an industry leader in safeguarding and protecting children, strengthening our ties with the NSPCC and the CPSU. Collectively, this is our chance to show what can be achieved when organisations come together for a shared goal and vision.”

Alison Brown, national lead for standards and compliance at TASS, said:

“TASS is pleased to contribute its expertise to the group, as the welfare of talented young athletes is of great importance to us.”

UK Coaching maintains safeguarding and protecting children as an absolute priority. For more than 20 years, it has worked closely with the NSPCC and CPSU to set the right standards and to raise awareness among coaches of how to put the welfare of children and young people above all else.