As part of this priority, this weekend, (Saturday, 1 October) we will be participating and celebrating the FA’s Play Safe national safeguarding campaign, with support from the Premier League and other football stakeholders.
This is the second year of the FA Play Safe campaign, which aims to raise awareness of how everyone can play their part in ensuring that football is a safe space for all.
The campaign aims to make parents and guardians, as well as staff at all levels of the game, aware of how they can help protect the safety and wellbeing of children, young people, and adults at risk.
It also provides children and young people with an understanding of the support available to them should they require it.
In particular, the FA is encouraging people to take the short, new and free online safeguarding course that’s been created specifically for parents and carers.
Leading at the forefront of CITC’s safeguarding is Safeguarding Manager, Deborah Glynn, who has worked at the charity for 14 years.
We caught up with Deborah, to find out more about her role and the important work she leads.
Deborah, please can you introduce us to your role and main aims within CITC?
Whilst all members of staff at CITC have a responsibility towards the safety and wellbeing of all our participants, my role is to ensure that safeguarding is fully embedded into the culture and the work that we do.
By developing, implementing, and reviewing our practices, providing awareness, training and education supports the workforce and champions the voices of our participants, empowering them to speak out if anything is upsetting or worrying them, creates a safe and positive environment where everyone can thrive which ultimately supports our overarching aim of creating healthier lives through football.
Why is it so important to have a safeguarding team based within the charity?
Having a safeguarding team based within CITC is paramount.
Safeguarding is a key aspect of work and programmes we deliver which extends beyond the pitch and sees us work collaboratively with many different stakeholders to ensure a positive and safe experience for all participants whether it be a two-year-old on our City Play programme or a 75-year-old playing Walking Football.
By having a full-time safeguarding manager, we can support all our participants, in appropriate ways whether it is proactive or reactive.
How does CITC engage with participants and parents around safeguarding?
Each programme and each participant are different, so I always need to be aware and consider that the best approach for one differs to another.
It is key for our delivery staff to engage with participants and embed our practices into everything they do and getting to know the participants and their parents and carers when they attend.
Other ways include visiting sessions, conducting surveys to gather thoughts and opinions, and providing resources like our ‘Young Person Guide’ or ‘Safety Cards’.
We also champion a range of campaigns throughout the season including – Parents in Sports Week, Anti Bullying week, Digital Awareness week, Child Safety Week and Speak Week.
Through these campaigns we can deliver important safeguarding messages but also continue to engage with participants and parents around safeguarding.
How can CITC tell if its proactive safeguarding work is making a difference?
By implementing and reviewing our practices we can see if we are making a difference.
Through our campaigns we can measure impact and awareness via surveys and through staff training and awareness, we can monitor awareness and review any concerns that get raised.
If a coach is picking up on a concern, no matter how small, it helps to demonstrate that we are doing something right.
However, the main thing for me, is when a participant, parent, school or CITC partner reaches out to us whether it is to provide feedback, share ideas of ask for help and support, it demonstrates that we have created a positive environment with a listening culture that allows anybody to #SpeakupSpeakout.
City in the Community, Manchester City’s charity, moves with city youth to empower healthier lives through football.
To find out more visit, www.mancity.com/CITC or follow @citcmancity on social media.
As part of this weekend’s campaign, supporters will see branded Play Safe items at Sunday's match against Manchester United.