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Parents across the North urged to join NSPCC's call to play their part in keeping children safe in sport

THE NSPCC launches sports safety campaign backed by sports clubs across the North and Sir Bradley Wiggins as new poll reveals 14% of parents surveyed within the North of England are not confident they could spot the signs if their child was suffering sexual, physical or emotional abuse at their local sports club.

The research carried out by YouGov on behalf of the children's charity also found that 8% of parents surveyed across the North were not confident they knew how to raise concerns with their child's sports club about their child's safety. The NSPCC wants to ensure that all parents have the knowledge and confidence to raise safeguarding concerns. The figures are based on 226 parents of children aged 3 to 16 years old who attend sports clubs across the North.

Furthermore, new data has revealed the number of contacts to the NSPCC Helpline from adults from across the UK with safeguarding questions or concerns about children in a sports setting has almost doubled in the last 5 years.

The NSPCC's Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week campaign, backed by the Football Association (The FA) and abuse survivor Sir Bradley Wiggins, was launched on Monday, 3 October 2022. It offers advice and information to empower parents to play a key role in helping to keep their children safe in sport.

The campaign aims to provide parents and carers with the right knowledge and resources so they can make confident informed decisions when raising concerns with their child's sport club. Advice tools and supporting information are available from the NSPCC and its Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU).

Paul Stewart, a former Premiership and International footballer who played for Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, was sexually abused by a football coach as a child, and now works to promote safety in sport. He said:- "It is absolutely vital that safeguarding is a top priority in children's sport. And the importance of campaigns such as the NSPCC's Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week, which raises awareness of the issue and empowers parents to play their part, cannot be understated. Strong safeguarding policies in sport clubs and good parental awareness of them make it much harder for abusers to target children in these environments. That is why it is so important that parents and carers know how to access safeguarding information for their child's club, are able to identify signs of abuse and have the confidence to speak out about any issues. Every child should be able to enjoy sport without the risk of abuse."

A free dedicated NSPCC helpline commissioned by British Cycling has been set up in response to a number of individuals speaking out about non-recent abuse, including former professional cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins CBE, who revealed earlier this year he had been groomed by a former coach.

Sir Bradley said:- "I back the NSPCC's Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week campaign which strives to prevent abuse of any kind happening to children in sport. We must make sport safe for children, and make it easier for parents, and indeed all people in sport, to recognise and understand how they themselves can support a safer sports environment."

An adult who experienced abuse as a child in sport told an NSPCC Helpline practitioner:- "The gymnastics club I went to as a child was obsessed with diets and the weight of the gymnasts. The gymnasts were weighed twice a week. If they were considered overweight or fat, their weights were written on a whiteboard for everyone to read, the gymnasts were shouted at and humiliated by the coaches. As a result of their cruelty, I developed an eating disorder."

Sue Ravenlaw, FA Head of Safeguarding, said:- "We all have a part to play in keeping children safe in football, and indeed all sport, so we must ensure safeguarding and child protection is central to everything we do. Play Safe helps clubs and leagues to raise awareness of their safeguarding practice and, importantly this year, encourages parents and carers to complete The FA's free bespoke course. Play Safe naturally aligns with and shows our support for the NSPCC's Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week campaign."

As well as social media support from sporting clubs and figures across the country, virtual webinars for parents to promote safeguarding in youth sport will run throughout the week, including by the:- 'Premier League' and another by:- 'The Young Gamers' and 'Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM).'

Michelle North, Director of the NSPCC's Child Protection in Sport Unit, said:- "For many of us, it was playing at our local grassroots sports clubs as children where we 1st encountered a deep lifelong love and passion for sport. Every child and young person deserves to enjoy sport in an environment that is safe from abuse and harm and where they can play within a culture that advocates for their care and wellbeing. Parents and carers play a key role in keeping children safe in sport. This is why during the NSPCC's Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week campaign, we want to empower parents and carers with the knowledge, information and confidence needed to uphold child safeguarding."

For more information about the campaign and to gain access to the supporting resources please visit:- NSPCC.Org.UK/SafeInSport.

Merseyside charities celebrate share of £1million fund

3 charities based in Merseyside have received donations of £1,000 each as part of the Benefact Group's Movement for Good Awards. For the 4th year running, the Benefact Group is giving away £1million to charities through its Movement for Good awards. Members of the public were invited to nominate causes close to their hearts, with another 250 awards of £1,000 available now for donation.

Me Again CIC, Wigan Deanery Trust and Merseyside Water Rescue are the local charities set to benefit from the money, following overwhelming public support in the county. Nearly 4,000 kind-hearted residents have voted for charities across the county so far.

In total, more than 202,000 people around the UK supported the Movement for Good awards, with over 3,900 charitable causes up and down the country receiving votes. The 250 winning charities were picked at random from those nominated, following 250 previous winners being selected in June.

It's quick and easy to nominate, you can vote for your favourite charity online at:- MovementForGood.Com.

Thanking supporters in Merseyside, Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive of Benefact Group, said:- "We would like to thank every single person who took the time to nominate a good cause as part of our Movement for Good Awards. Benefact Group is the fourth largest corporate donor in the UK and has an ambition to be the biggest. Owned by a charity, all of its available profits go to good causes, and the more the group grows, the more the group can give. As a company whose purpose is to contribute to the greater good of society, charitable giving is at the heart of what we do. We know that £1,000 can make a huge difference to the incredible work that charities do and we're looking forward to seeing how this financial boost will change lives for the better."

A further 120 £1,000 grants will be given away in December and £500,000 will also be given in larger grants later this year. For more information about the awards visit:- MovementForGood.Com.

Movement for Good is funded by EIO plc, part of the Benefact Group.

Merseyside Care Workers Launch Campaign for Pay Rise

FRONTLINE care workers across the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have launched a campaign, through their union UNISON, for Councils to implement the Foundation Living Wage (£10.90) as the minimum starting salary for all workers employed in social care.

Merseyside Care Workers Demand a Pay Rise will campaign for Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and St Helens Councils to join Wirral Council in offering this wage to all commissioned social care staff.

The campaign launched over email last week and has already attracted over 2,000 signatures from care workers, members of the public and local politicians, says UNISON.

This campaign follows the successful Greater Manchester Care Workers Demand a Pay Rise campaign which saw all Greater Manchester Councils commit to paying the Foundation Living Wage by April 2023.

That campaign has already seen a pay rise for over 25,000 workers in Greater Manchester, says UNISON.

The campaign has launched with an online petition for all Merseyside residents to show their support for the initiative.

Raising the pay of care workers will allow the sector to recruit more easily and retain care workers in their jobs, says UNISON.

UNISON Regional organiser Dan Smith said:- "The social care system is in crisis as thousands of care workers are leaving the sector to take better paid jobs elsewhere. There are currently over 100,000 vacancies in the sector and each day thousands of Hospital beds are occupied by patients who cannot be discharged due to the lack of social care provision. It's an absolute disgrace - especially as many care workers on poverty wages are employed by profit-making companies. The recruitment and retention crisis will only get worse as the cost-of-living crisis deepens for care workers. Urgent action is needed to give care workers the pay rise they deserve. Councils across Greater Manchester have shown that they are able to deliver a pay rise for the social care workforce; it's now time for Local Authorities across Merseyside to follow the example of Wirral Council and Greater Manchester by making the Foundation Living Wage the minimum starting salary for all directly employed and commissioned care workers. Care workers across Merseyside are coming together to demand a pay rise; and they're not going away until they win the reward and recognition they deserve."

Katie, a care worker in Merseyside, said:- "I work a lot of hours to be able to afford bills and I only just have a little bit spare at the end of the month to myself. I struggle to put money away for savings so I end up working more hours than my body can take which can take a toll on my performance in work and affects the care I provide."

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