Club Welfare

Club Welfare Officer – Introduction

My name is Nici Savage and I am the Club Welfare Officer for the Willesden Cycling Club.

As a result of much hard work by our fellow club members we now have an excellent structure in place for encouraging and developing young riders. The club has been granted prestigious “Club Mark” status and has formed strong links with schools in Brent and the Hillingdon Slipstreamers. In addition we have also been awarded a generous grant by the Wembley National Stadium Trust to support our young rider development programme. Together, all of these initiatives have resulted in a considerable and very welcome increase in the number of Under 18 riders in our club.

As part of this planned expansion the role of Club Welfare Officer has been created to meet our obligations towards safeguarding the young riders and vulnerable adults within our membership.  We have in place a range of policies aimed at preventing abuse to both children and vulnerable adults. These measures have been brought about for two main reasons –

1. The NSPCC estimate that over 50,000 children are known to be at risk from abuse in the UK, but the true figure is likely to be much higher. In the past there have been several distressing child abuse cases, which if reported earlier may well have been prevented.  It is recognised that sports clubs are well placed to raise early concerns early about possible child abuse. We are regarded as valuable whistle blowers who may be amongst the first to raise concerns that abuse may be taking place outside the realm of our sport.

2. The vast majority of people who work and volunteer to work with children are well motivated and intentioned, but unfortunately there are some individuals in society who target sports clubs in order to gain access to young people or vulnerable adults for inappropriate or even criminal reasons. The range of policies and procedures we have put in place are aimed at protecting our club from such individuals, as well as safeguarding the children and vulnerable adults taking part in all our activities.

Children and vulnerable adults are defined as follows –   

1. Children =  Any club member aged under 18 years.

2. Vulnerable adult = any club  member aged over 18 years  who is in, or may be in need of , community care services due to disability, age or illness; or may be unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation. For example, this may be a person who is suffering from a mental health issues; or has a physical disability; or who has learning difficulties.

As Willesden CC members we need to be able to recognise the signs of possible abuse and to report it should we suspect it may be occurring.  In all cases you only need good reason to suspect abuse may be taking place, it is not the responsibility of any of us to decide or judge if abuse is actually taking place – that will be the responsibility of professional social workers to investigate further.

Many minor welfare concerns can be resolved without involving outside agencies and this will help us become an even stronger club.  When reporting abuse of a more serious matter then it is understandable if you feel deeply concerned and possibly angry. You must remember that despite the difficulty involved in reporting such matters it is the welfare of the child or vulnerable adult that must be paramount. What may seem to be only a minor matter could be one of a series of other instances which when grouped together may cause concern for the welfare of the individual concerned.

If you have any questions regarding the Welfare policies then I would be very happy to discuss them with you. Our welfare procedures are important for the protection of our club members and may also help protect others in the wider community to which we belong.

Nici Savage
Club Welfare Officer
Willesden Cycling Club
Tel  07548 595 799

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