Volunteers often play a key role in children’s sport, working with organisations to make sport enjoyable and accessible for young people.
An important part of being a volunteer involves keeping children safe in their chosen sport or activity. We spoke with Kevin, a volunteer at NSPCC, to understand what it means to be a volunteer in sport and hear more about his experiences of safeguarding as a volunteer.
Kevin, what is your experience of volunteering within sport?
"I have volunteered in sport for over 30 years and have many different experiences, including:
• working as a football coach for Chelsea FC in their Football in the Community scheme. This involved working with inner city children across London.
• working as a football coach for Brentford FC in their Football in the Community scheme.
• managing numerous youth football teams, largely with my son as a member of the team
• chairing of our village cricket club for many years involving both adult and youth cricket teams
• working for the Child Protection in Sports Unit at the NSPCC"
Why do you choose to volunteer within sport?
"I am passionate about sport. I’ve played sport for over 50 years and have enjoyed every moment. It has given me wonderful memories and taught me many lessons about life and being a better person. I volunteer in sport to give others the opportunity to enjoy sport, develop life skills and make enduring friendships."
How do you contribute to keeping children and young people safe whilst you’re volunteering?
"I am an advocate of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), ensuring that me and my volunteering colleagues have the necessary certifications in place before working with children and young people. At the cricket club where I have a committee of volunteers running the club, I ensure we have a qualified Welfare Officer who makes sure:
• the club is complying with English Cricket Board (ECB) safeguarding regulations
• the club has a full set of safeguarding policies
• every volunteer has the appropriate DBS certifications
• all safeguarding policies are accessible on the website, so children, parents, and club members have access
• the website has links to the assets on the NSPCC CPSU website
• everyone is aware of their safeguarding responsibilities."
What is most important for you while you are volunteering?
"The most important thing for me is providing a fun and safe environment for children and young people to enjoy and learn in sport."
Do you work closely with others professional or leaders within your sports club or activity? If so, who and how?
"I work with a team of volunteer committee members in my village cricket club including the Safeguarding Officer. I also work with the NSPCC CPSU volunteer manager."
How would you raise a safeguarding concern if one came about whilst in your volunteering role?
"The village cricket club I volunteer with has a safeguarding policy that includes what to do to raise a safeguarding concern. This includes recommendations around contacting appropriate emergency services should there be an immediate concern for the health and safety of a child. Details of NSPCC helplines and CPSU are also provided. A form is provided to be sent to the club Welfare Officer if a concern needs to be raised."
Is there something you are proud of or, enjoy the most about volunteering?
"I find nothing better than wandering over to the cricket ground on a Sunday morning and hearing the children shouting and screaming in joy before I have even reached the ground. Watching the children and young people enjoying the sport and having fun is the reason I volunteer."