Safeguarding and welfare is a priority for Essendon Country Club. From 2021 it will be a requirement for all golf clubs to hold the SafeGolf accreditation, and we want to be on the front foot in this regard. Not just ‘ticking boxes’, but actually ensuring that all players understand what they need to do to create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.
There are four main types of abuse:
• Neglect – something as simple as failing to provide adequate food and weather appropriate clothing.
• Physical Abuse – examples in sport may be when the nature and intensity of competition exceeds the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body.
• Sexual Abuse – this could include inadvertently showing young people inappropriate material / images.
• Emotional Abuse – examples in sport may include young people who are subjected to criticism or pressure to perform to unrealistically high expectations.
Government guidance makes it clear that ‘safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’, and we all have a part to play. It is essential that every sector in the golfing community, including players, officials and club staff take the safety of young players seriously.
In October 2018, England Golf launched a national standalone safeguarding accreditation called SafeGolf. SafeGolf is a partnership of UK golf bodies committed to promoting a safe and positive environment for all those participating, working and volunteering in the sport of golf. The safeguarding standards of SafeGolf include the following:-
• Adopting the England Golf safeguarding policy.
• Communicating this to members, visitors, staff, volunteers and parents.
• Ensuring the appropriate safeguarding procedures are in place for the recruitment and deployment of staff and volunteers who work with children.
• Appointing a club welfare officer (Elaine Ratcliffe), with a clear role description and training.
• Providing regular training in safeguarding and child protection for professionals, staff and volunteers who regularly work with children.
Anyone who has a negative experience of golf at a young age is less likely to become a long-term participant. It is important for the future of the sport and every golf club that children and young people have an enjoyable experience of golf. We should all be talking about safeguarding and contributing to meeting our overall duty of care. This is not a child welfare policy, it is a club welfare policy put in place for the protection of ALL members.