30th March 2019, 12:06 | safeguarding
St Helens broke new ground for the Betfred Super League and the sport of Rugby League on Friday night when they are presented with the Listening Club Achievement award.
The Listening Club Initiative was launched by the Rugby Football League in 2017, as part of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, to encourage all clubs to work closely with children to ensure they feel valued and safe.
Liza Ware, senior consultant for the CPSU, will made the presentation during the half-time break in Friday’s game between Saints and Hull KR.
“The CPSU and Rugby Football League have worked together to help protect children and young people in the sport for more than 17 years,” she explains.
“Rugby League has consistently shown its commitment to take its safeguarding responsibilities very seriously.
“The Listening Clubs Initiative is just one way that Rugby League is trying to ensure children and young people are safe and have an enjoyable time when they participate in the sport.
“Creating an environment where children feel their voice is heard is a very important aspect of safeguarding. Children are safer when they know they have trusting adults around them who will take their worries and concerns seriously - and who will take steps to make positive changes.
“It is very heartening to see in St Helens a club at the highest level of the professional game who are committed to ensuring the safety of children and young people who are on the talent pathway.
“They are the first Super League club to achieve this standard. I hope this encourages other clubs – whether elite or grassroots - to follow their lead.
“We know from research that talented young players and adults are more vulnerable that others to abuse – and need protecting.
“Unfortunately, there have been some people who have exploited young people’s dreams for their own gratification. Rugby League want to create an atmosphere where children actively participate in decision-making processes about their club and their training. This can only be for the better, and will help secure the future of the sport and for everyone who takes part in it.”
Colette Eden, the RFL’s Safeguarding Manager, added: “On behalf of the RFL, congratulations to St Helens for the excellent work they have done to qualify for the Listening Club Achievement award.
“We introduced the initiative in 2017 at our 10th annual Safeguarding Conference, and there has been significant progress made in this area since then.
“For Saints to earn this recognition should underline to all our clubs the importance of listening to children and young people, to improve the environment.
“We’re delighted that Liza Ware will be attending from the NSPCC, and we hope she enjoys the game!”