Sport England is investing £14.83 million in a new national network of welfare officers, responsible for mentoring and supporting sports clubs across England. The Sport Welfare Officers project is a joint policy response from Sport England and UK Sport to The Whyte Review, which questioned the level of safeguarding responsibility given to grassroots volunteers.
Developed in collaboration with a number of partners – including national governing bodies (NGBs), Active Partnerships, the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit and the Ann Craft Trust – the project will support local clubs in ensuring the welfare of their members, both children and adults.
Working with the 42 Active Partnerships, the project will recruit and train 59 Sport Welfare Officers, who will work with NGBs to mentor and support Club Welfare Officers nationwide. The officers will also help further understand safeguarding in local clubs, such as how policies and procedures are cascaded and help share good practice.
The project will run for three years, from October 2023 until March 2027, with an evaluation study in place to track its progress and measure the effectiveness of the Club Welfare Officers in feeling supported.
Andy Taylor, CEO of the Active Partnerships National Organisation, said: “Working with partners across the sector, we will play a key role in delivering on this project.
“We’re currently recruiting for two brand new roles in our national team and we’ll be supporting the Active Partnerships with their recruitment of the network of Sport Welfare Officers that will operate at a local level. All of these new officers will play a crucial role in supporting national governing bodies and local clubs to promote good practice and to ensure safe sport is provided for everyone.”