13th September 2020, 11:59 | safeguarding
The RFL has a new Safeguarding Manager with an impressive Rugby League pedigree, and a determination to maintain the standards that earned high praise from the Child Protection in Sport Unit earlier this year.
Kerry Simmons has been involved in the Community Game for the best part of two decades, and the Club Welfare Officer at Orrell St James for the last four years.
She comes to the RFL from SHAP, a charity which was registered as the St Helens Accommodation Project in 1985 and has expanded through Merseyside and Cheshire providing accommodation and support to young and vulnerable people.
Kerry succeeds Colette Eden, who stood down earlier this year after a decade’s outstanding service to the RFL – culminating in the rating of “Very Good”, the highest of five grades awarded to NGBs in the Annual Safeguarding Audit conducted by the CPSU.
Karen Moorhouse, the RFL’s Chief Regulatory Officer, said: “Safeguarding and listening to children is such a crucial part of the role we play as Rugby League’s National Governing Body.
“Colette Eden has played a key role in ensuring the RFL and the sport as a whole gives the necessary emphasis to the protection and involvement of all the young people in it.
“She, and we, should take pride from receiving the top rating in the CPSU’s annual audit, reflecting excellence across each of the five areas of measurement – Policies and Procedures, Organisational Ownership, Case Management, Safeguarding Training, and Communication.
“It is independent verification that excellent safeguarding practice is embedded across the RFL. Many in the sport, both at professional clubs and foundations and at community clubs, should share the credit for this recognition.
“However in such a challenging area, it is important we are ready to meet those challenges, and we’re delighted by the appointment of Kerry Simmons as Colette’s replacement. She brings extensive experience, both in terms of her handling of individual safeguarding cases and her strategic knowledge – as well as her specific knowledge of the game from her work with such a progressive Community club.”
Kerry Simmons said: “I’m honoured to be joining an organisation that focuses on maintaining high standards within safeguarding.
“I have always been passionate about the safeguarding and protection of children and young people both in my professional career and within my voluntary roles in grassroots Rugby League.
“Rugby League is a sport full of hard-working, determined people making this an exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to working closely with everyone involved.”