“We want every person and community to experience the enjoyment and benefits that being active can bring and believe their needs, expectations and safety should come first in the design and delivery of activity.” Active Partnerships
A new, national network of Sport Welfare Officers is being created across England to support National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and their local clubs to promote good practice and safe sport for children, young people and adults on a local level. The Sport Welfare Officers will add capacity and expertise to the existing safeguarding work of NGBs and Active Partnerships. They will help further understand safeguarding in local clubs e.g. how policies and procedures are cascaded and help share good practice. They will work closely with other Sport Welfare Officers, National Governing Bodies and wider organisations; to connect people working on welfare and safeguarding, both inside and outside sport.
Sport England’s policy response to The Whyte Review, published with UK Sport in January 2023, included the proposal to fund this professional network of Sport Welfare Officers. The network is being funded by Sport England using National Lottery funding.
Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s chief executive, has welcomed the initiative, which also forms part of the Governance, Safeguarding and Integrity commitment in their Uniting The Movement strategy. He said,
“The role that these new Sport Welfare Officers will play is a really important addition to the landscape that comes at a crucial time. The network will directly support our ambition to champion the life-changing impact of being active and our mission to tackle deep-rooted inequalities and unlock the advantages of sport and physical activity for everyone. These roles will create the right blend of action, at both a national and local level, that’s needed to help promote a consistent approach in clubs to support their own welfare officers”.
Sport Welfare Officers will be employed through, and based in, local Active Partnerships across England. Two national officers will also be employed within the national Active Partnerships team to help support and connect the work at a national and local level. The Active Partnerships team will also support central resources and training, as well as overseeing an evaluation study.
Liz Davidson, Active Kent & Medway Partnership Director said,
“We welcome the introduction of the new, national network of Sport Welfare Officers to promote good practice and safe sport for children, young people and adults at a local level. Safeguarding and welfare are essential to ensuring safe environments for everyone to enjoy sport and physical activity opportunities. We look forward to working with the national Active Partnerships team, NGB’s and local clubs to help make this happen.”
Recruitment for Sport Welfare Officers at a local level is expected to start from October 2023.