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UK Coaching Team
Young people

Using Coaching to Tackle the Risk of Radicalisation

Coaches can be crucial in supporting young people who may be at risk of being radicalised. Richard Jones and Mike Dale visited two pioneering inner-city programmes to discover how they have been tackling the issue

Nurturing athletes’ skills is only part of a coach’s job these days and being a mentor and confidant can play a significant part in guiding youngsters through the pitfalls of 21st century life. Perhaps the most serious threat to children’s well-being, particularly in ethnic minority communities, is extremism. Coaches are therefore crucial in supporting youngsters who may fall prey to nefarious influences.

The National Counter Terrorism Unit has identified sports clubs as key ‘hotbeds’ where radicalisers can potentially reach vulnerable targets. In response, Head of West Midlands CTU, Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Southern wants to “encourage people with responsibilities for safeguarding to view extremism as they would any other vulnerability.”

“In the West Midlands, we spotted an opportunity to work with sports coaches who already had an established system of safeguarding training,” Sue explains.

Coaches have regular contact with young people and could be the first to spot a change in behaviour that could indicate that a person is vulnerable to being radicalised. Reporting this concern would allow us to intervene at an early stage and support that young person. It would not necessarily mean a police intervention – it could be support from a range of partners to address an individual’s vulnerability.

“To move this forward we have worked alongside UK Coaching and now plan to hold a ‘train the trainer’ event in the autumn. Here we will introduce the coaches to a Home Office developed workshop called WRAP (Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent). We are then hoping UK Coaching can take this tool and roll it out to their members across the country.”

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UK Coaching Team