During National Safeguarding Month, we’re calling on all organisations working with young people to pledge to Stop, Look, Listen. As an organisation taking part, we spoke to Roy Peach from our member organisation Oxfordshire Youth about why they are taking part and what they’re doing to promote better safeguarding. You can follow Oxfordshire Youth on Twitter and Facebook.
Oxfordshire Youth is proud to be pledging its support to the UK Youth’s National Safeguarding Month campaign. With more than 100 organisations that Oxfordshire Youth supports, taking part in this campaign allows us to not only better support our members, but has allowed us the opportunity to Stop, Look, and Listen to our own practices, taking on board each member of staff’s views.
Safeguarding at its simplest level
The great thing about UK Youth’s campaign is that it is so easy to take the time necessary to review what you are doing. At Oxfordshire Youth we sent our Safeguarding Policy to our staff team allowing them time to review it and send feedback directly to the CEO. This feedback will then form the basis of a team meeting within the next week where we will review together the policy, and update as necessary. Whilst this is one of the easiest things that we have done, it hasn’t ended there.
We have provided draft safeguarding policy templates to our member organisations that can be amended and adapted accordingly, have offered regular DBS training sessions so that youth club leaders and persons in similar roles are confident in this element of the recruitment process, and have been able to develop our Recruiting and Managing Volunteers training, accessible to all, with the first session taking place in April.
We have kept a strong presence online, using the excellent resources provided by UK Youth to shout about the work that is going on both locally and nationally. We have a monthly mailshot that is sent out, and in March it was themed around Safeguarding, with links provided to the UK Youth website, GDPR updates, and training opportunities, including several Generalised Safeguarding courses we are running in the next year.
Our members have been busy too. One youth club not only reviewed its safeguarding policy, but has altered elements of their building to ensure the club’s access is safer, and have run activities with the young people too. One activity linked into young people’s rights using a card sorting activity. Whilst working in groups, they identified what they felt were key items that were needed in their lives. Top of all of their lists, without prompting from the adults, was ‘protection from abuse and neglect’.
The same club, after reading that 67% of young people feel they have nobody to turn to (UK Youth), created their own NSPCC style posters with images of their staff on, with the tagline ‘Talk to Us’, offering quieter spaces in the club building, and a sentence on what their own interests were, giving the young people a link in to easier discussions. Just 15 minutes after they were put up, discussions were already happening.
Often, when safeguarding is mentioned, a great wave of fear and dread can sweep over staff, worried that they are doing things right, but in some ways, that’s a good thing. It keeps us on our toes. When it comes to reviewing practices though, we needn’t worry. Safeguarding, when developed as a team, not only shares the workload, but ultimately is extremely empowering.
It’s also key to remember that whilst this campaign raises awareness of safeguarding, it should always remain high on the agenda. By adding it to team agendas like we have done at Oxfordshire Youth, it remains at the forefront of everything we do.