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Play Safe Weekend

Play Safe Weekend

The whole of football at every level has joined forces this weekend to promote Play Safe – The Football Association’s national campaign to focus attention on the importance of safeguarding in our national game.

The campaign is officially supported by the NSPCC, as well as the Premier League, EFL, Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship. It is backed by every level of the game across England.

Derby County are proud to be working in partnership with Derbyshire FA to convey the importance of Play Safe to our local community. Derbyshire FA are also collaborating with grassroots clubs and leagues in the county to spread the key messages of Play Safe. This year’s focus is on the key role of parents/carers in safeguarding.

Tony Brittan, the Designated Safeguarding Officer for Derby County, said: “Everybody needs to understand how to play their part in keeping children safe in football. We all have a responsibility to listen to children and to report any concerns to those designated officers who ensure that children or young people are safe whilst participating in the game.

“This can be whilst playing grassroots football through the County FA, or by participants in the professional game. Parents and carers need to ensure they know who the designated officers are for their local and regional clubs in Derbyshire and where their safeguarding policies can be found. They need to understand the vital role they play in reporting any concerns they may have regarding children participating in football at all levels.

“The FA Course for parents is a must and ensures that the key message of working together to safeguard children is widely promoted. Derby County Football Club is committed to ensuring that the message of safeguarding in football is wide-spread, and fully supports the FA’s Play Safe campaign for this season.”

Derbyshire FA’s Safeguarding & Equality Manager, Jenny Blewitt, added: “Play Safe demonstrates that across the game, we are all united in the shared goal to keep children and young people safe. As adults, it is essential that we all work together to create a positive environment where children thrive and feel confident to speak up if they are not feeling okay. It’s vitally important to us that everyone understands the role they need to play in football.

“Ultimately, safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. We all need to ensure that everyone involved in football, particularly children and young people, have a consistently safe and positive experience of our great game. Play Safe reminds everyone of that responsibility and keeps safeguarding front of mind, which is exactly where it should be.

“So, whatever your role in football, please remember safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.”

If you are a coach working with children, make sure to regularly check-in with your players and help them to feel safe. Create an environment where people feel happy to share their thoughts and speak up about any concerns. Keep up to date with The FA’s ‘Safeguarding Children’ course and ensure your DBS Check is up to date. Educate yourself on what makes ‘safe practice’ and be sure to follow it. For example, when communicating with Under-18s via social media or in coaching sessions, do you know your rights from wrongs?

To find out more about the FA’s Safeguarding Awareness Course For Parents and Carers click here.

If you are a parent/carer, make yourself familiar with your child’s club welfare officer. Keep their contact number in your phone, along with the number for the NSPCC, which is 0808 800 5000. Keep up to date with the club’s safeguarding policies and procedures and check in with your child to see what they are enjoying and what they are not, and why.

If you are worried about a child, it’s vital you report your concerns. Doing nothing is not an option. It’s also important you stay calm, and if any child is present, reassure them they are not to blame. But don’t make promises of confidentiality or outcome.

If you have a safeguarding concern, there are five ways to report it:

1. To your club or league designated safeguarding officer – please find out from your club who these people are

2. To your County FA designated safeguarding officer. Jenny Blewitt is Derbyshire FA’s Safeguarding and Equality Manager

3. By emailing The FA safeguarding team at [email protected]

4. If urgent and you cannot contact your club, league or County FA designated safeguarding officer, you can contact the NSPCC Helpline for expert advice and support on 0808 800 5000 or [email protected]

5. If it is an emergency because a child or children are at immediate risk, then call the Police or children's social care in your area

Football for children should be about having fun, making friends, and creating memories. Do your part, take responsibility, and help us change lives positively through football.