12 March 2018
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 Tom Clarke-Forrest, Founder & CEO of Sport 4 Life UK about why they are taking part and what they’re doing to promote better safeguarding. You can follow Sport 4 Life UK on Twitter and Facebook.
Sport 4 Life UK is taking part in National Safeguarding Month, and the ‘Stop, Look, Listen’ campaign because young people need more support than ever. Research from UK Youth shows that 1 in 10 young people feel they have no one to turn to to discuss their concerns, 85% have moments where they feel lonely, and shockingly, 6 in 10 young people are more likely to battle on alone than ask for help. I, like anyone, can’t help but feel moved and saddened by these insights. Unfortunately this is the case, and we must focus on doing all we can to safeguard and support young people.
As Founder and CEO of my charity, I have a key responsibility in ensuring that we do this. I also believe that safeguarding should be everyone’s responsibility – trustees, management, operational staff, volunteers. Taking part in this campaign will improve our own safeguarding and I hope it will also encourage others to make the pledge.
During National Safeguarding Month Sport 4 Life UK took the ‘Stop, Look, Listen’ campaign pledge and reviewed its policies and practices. Crucially, this review process elicited a number of tangible changes, which will make our safeguarding processes better.
We reviewed all policies that come under ‘safeguarding’. From this we took a number of steps. We added a new sub-policy. In addition, we amended our ‘Learning and Development Policy’ to ensure all relevant staff are trained to meet standards. We improved the reporting processes of incidents to our board of trustees. Finally, we added ‘safeguarding’ as a standing agenda item on all operational committees.
If you work with young people you must always act in their best interests and ensure you have reasonable steps in place to prevent them from harm. It’s impossible to eliminate all risks, but that’s not an excuse to not do all you can to mitigate them. Having safeguards in place within your organisation protects and promotes the welfare of young people. It also enhances the confidence of trustees, staff, volunteers, stakeholders and the general public.
Disadvantaged young people are particularly vulnerable and its incredibly to have proper safeguards in place for their protection. UK Youth’s ‘Stop, Look, Listen’ campaign during National Safeguarding Month, and its #KeepMeSafe resources is a simple and useful platform to review your current safeguarding policies and processes and make improvements – and will ultimately keep more young people safe.