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Anfield to provide world famous stage for 'Mental Fitness Match Day' at Rugby Leage World Cup 2021

ANFIELD will have a double header in 2021, including a men's Final and England Women, to host Mental Fitness Match to promote the importance of strong mental fitness RLWC2021, in partnership with Movember and Rugby League Cares are delivering the:- 'Movember Ahead of the Game' mental fitness programme which will reach 8,000 young athletes and parents as well as 360 coaches, with the aim of improving mental health literacy and resilience in young athletes.

Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) on 13 November 2020, demonstrated its commitment to making a positive social impact by dedicating the double header involving a men's RLWC2021 final and an England women's match at Anfield, on 13 November 2021 to promoting good mental fitness.

Through the tournament's innovative partnership with Movember and Rugby League Cares, the double header will be branded the Mental Fitness Match Day. The men's final at the world famous home of Liverpool FC could potentially feature England as well as the scheduled England women's team match against Canada women.

The Mental Fitness Match Day will take place during Movember's annual fundraising campaign in November 2021 and will raise awareness of the outstanding work the organisation will have delivered along with Rugby League Cares by harnessing the global scale and reach of:- 'RLWC2021' to make a difference to communities in England.

Earlier this year, RLWC2021 announced the tournament would be working with Rugby League Cares to support men's health experts, Movember, to deliver their 'Ahead of the Game' programme in Rugby League Towns and cities beginning in Leeds, in October. The programme will still aim to reach 16,000 young athletes and parents combined as well as 360 coaches.

The 'Ahead of the Game' programme will be delivered by current and former Rugby League stars using their own experiences and struggles with mental fitness to educate future stars of the game including:- England and Great Britain legend Keith Senior, former GB star, Lee Crooks, as well as double Challenge Cup winner Paul Wood, Barrow Raiders prop Lee Jewitt and hooker Shaun Lunt.

The programme will also benefit from the inclusion of the incredibly inspirational Jimmy Gittins, former Wakefield Trinity and Dewsbury player who was paralysed is an accident in 2002 when his neck was broken in 2 places.

RLWC2021 Mental Fitness Ambassador, Robbie Hunter-Paul holds a long affiliation of championing mental fitness within Rugby League. Hunter Paul said:- "The programme is designed to deliver impactful training to the next generation of stars. To have started that journey now a year out from the tournament just goes to show what is possible in the next 12 months and beyond. Rugby League's culture has always been about 'looking after 1 another' but this training also shows how important it is to look after your own mental fitness and I am extremely proud to be part of the brilliant group of trainers delivering the sessions."

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive, said:- "Our objective from day 1 was to stage a unique tournament which not only delivers breath taking action on the field but also leaves a lasting and positive legacy in communities. At this particular moment, mental well being is a priority for so many people and I am grateful to Movember as well as Rugby League Cares for their outstanding contribution in helping realise our ambitions. The double header at Anfield will focus everyone's attention on this important topic. I would also like to thank the great and loyal servants of the game; past and present; for their commitment to the 'Ahead of the Game' initiative which delivers important mental fitness education not just for young players but also to their families and coaches. It is something we are understandably proud of."

RL Cares, Head of Community, Emma Goldsmith said:- "In these challenging times, Rugby League Cares is proud to be working with RLWC2021 and Movember to deliver Ahead of the Game. Our partnership is helping us keep as many members of the Rugby League family mentally fit and well, both during lockdown and beyond as we all look ahead to a post Pandemic 2021 and what will be a very special day for everyone at Anfield next year."

Meanwhile, Tracy Herd, Programme Manager at Movember, added:- "With all that 2020 has thrown at us, young people need our support now more than ever. We're pleased to be able to give them the tools they need to help build mental resilience and thrive during these tough times, and hope the Ahead of the Game programme will teach skills they can lean on for the rest of their lives. It's exciting to be able to look forward to live sport again in 2021 with the RLWC and its bespoke Mental Fitness Match, which along with delivering a spectacle in its own right, emphasises the importance of looking after each other and our own mental wellbeing."

The 'Ahead of the Game' programme has been temporarily paused due to the latest Covid19 restrictions, RLWC2021 will provide an update on its resumption in due course.

Fans can apply for tickets through the ballot for a chance to be at Anfield, on 13 November 2021, to witness this unique match day at:- 'RLWC2021' via:- RLWC2021.Com/Tickets.  We are also told that the RLWC2021 Ballot will close at:- 20:21, on 16 November 2020.

Combined Authority recognised as 1 of England's Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers

THE Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has been recognised as 1 of the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers in England in a new table published detailing the country's outstanding apprenticeship employers. Over 400 employers from a wide range of industries and business sectors entered for the inaugural rankings this year with entries independently assessed and the data used to compile a new national leader board of top apprenticeship employers. The Combined Authority made the top 100, after being judged on the number of apprentices currently employed, the number of new apprenticeships created over the last 12 months, the diversity of these new apprentices, and the progression of apprentices onto further apprenticeships and employment. There are 65 staff members at the Combined Authority currently undertaking apprenticeships, with 28 having already completed theirs. There are plans to expand this even further during the current business year.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:- "Apprenticeships are a crucial way into the world of work as I well know as a former apprentice. I have always backed apprenticeships as a great way for individuals to progress and for businesses to develop the skills they need. It's fantastic that the Combined Authority has been recognised for the early work that we have done to get more apprenticeships into the organisation, but this is only the start. I've committed to guarantee a job, training or apprenticeship opportunity to anybody under the age of 25 and I'd encourage businesses to talk to us about the support we can give to help take on apprentices or expand what they are currently doing. This recognition complements the work that we have already done to develop the online resource:- 'Be More,' a 1 stop shop for apprentices and employers, and in supporting large companies to transfer their unspent Apprenticeship Levy to smaller organisations."

Peter Mucklow, Director, Apprenticeships, Education and Skills Funding Agency added:- "During such a difficult year it is encouraging to see that apprenticeships continue to be critical to business performance and success. This announcement shows that there are outstanding employers delivering apprenticeships across all sectors, and the Top 100 apprenticeship employer rankings rightly give recognition and thanks to those who have shown, and continue to show, huge commitment to apprenticeships. I look forward to seeing how these 100 employers use their status to showcase the many benefits of apprenticeships, whilst encouraging other employers to consider recruiting an apprentice."

Beginning in 2020, the annual rankings have been developed by the National Apprenticeship Service, in partnership with High Fliers Research. They showcase the nation's Top 100 employers that have done the most to provide successful apprenticeships over the previous 12 months. Apprenticeship employers from many different industries and sectors appear in the Top 100 including:- the public sector, the 3rd sector, Hospitality, telecommunications and accountancy. More information can be found on the Top 100 by visiting the website at:- TopApprenticeshipEmployers.Co.UK.

Instagram the platform of choice in grooming crimes recorded during lockdown as NSPCC urges tough legislation in response

INSTAGRAM was the most used platform in child grooming crimes during lockdown, research by the NSPCC suggests. The new data shows there were more than 1,200 online grooming crimes recorded against children in the 3 months, from April to June 2020, with the true scale of the problem likely to be much higher. The figures reveal how Instagram is increasingly being exploited by offenders. It was used in 37% of cases where the platform was recorded, compared with 29% over the previous 3 years. The findings have led to renewed calls for Boris Johnson to get tough on tech firms that fail to do enough to prevent offenders exploiting their sites and abusing children. Freedom of Information responses from 38 Police Forces in England and Wales show that 1,220 offences of Sexual Communication with a Child were recorded in the 1st 3 months of lockdown. In the North West, Police Forces recorded 210 offences in the same period.  In England and Wales Facebook owned apps (Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp) were used in 51% of instances where the means of communication was recorded. Snapchat was used in 20% of instances for which data was available. In the North West, Facebook owned apps were used in 43% of instances where the means of communication was used. Snapchat was used in 18% of instances for which data was available.  Offences have also increased annually in the 3 years prior to lockdown. In total there were 12,925 offences recorded by Police in England and Wales from April 2017 to March 2020, with experts saying poorly designed social media sites are putting children at risk.  The NSPCC warned the Pandemic had created a perfect storm for online offenders and believe these figures could mark the start of a surge in online grooming crimes. With ongoing Coronavirus restrictions across the UK, the charity believes that the risk of online abuse will continue to spike, and many more offences may come to light when children report them at School.

1 girl who contacted Childline during the Pandemic said:- "I am 12 and I don't have social media but I wanted to get online and chat to people since my friends had done it and told me it would be fun. It started off fine with the occasional 'hi' and then men started sending d*** pics and saying really personal things."

The new data comes as the Prime Minister makes vital decisions about online harms legislation that will create a Duty of Care on tech firms, with an announcement expected within weeks.  It's understood the Online Harms White Paper consultation response has been signed off by DCMS and the Home Office and is sitting with Boris Johnson.  The Prime Minister is being urged to ensure companies and named managers can be held criminally responsible for failing to protect children from avoidable harm and abuse.  The need for a bold and ambitious response from Government has been heightened by the knock on effects of the Pandemic.  Criminals are exploiting the fact that children are spending more time online and high risk video chatting and live streaming services have become more popular. After years of failed self regulation, many platforms were easily exploitable for groomers during lockdown, with many seeing the crisis as an opportunity to commit abuse.  The offence of Sexual Communication with a Child came in in April 2017 after a campaign by the NSPCC, making it illegal for an adult to send a sexual message to a child. The NSPCC wants the upcoming Online Harms Bill to compel firms to consider child protections when they design their sites to prevent harm rather than react once the damage is done. But it is warning tough deterrents will be needed to make some of the world's biggest companies stand up and listen, and is concerned the Government may not go far enough.

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said:- "Families have long paid the price for big tech's failure to protect children from abuse, but the Prime Minister has the chance to turn the tide and put responsibility on firms to clean up the mess they created. As the Pandemic intensifies the threat children face online, bold and ambitious action is needed in the form of a world leading Online Harms Bill. This means legislation that is tough on online crimes against children and regulation that holds tech companies and bosses financially and criminally responsible if they continue to turn a blind eye to entirely avoidable harm."

Chief Constable Simon Bailey added:- "In an increasingly digitally connected world, perpetrators of child abuse are conducting more and more of their activities online. Offenders use the internet to access and share child abuse images, and to make contact with and groom children directly. Although online regulation is difficult, it is clear that it is the only way to ensure tech and social media companies will take their responsibilities seriously. The Online Harms White Paper, published in February 2020, proposes a new regulatory framework and duty of care which have the potential to be of real use in the fight against child exploitation."

Last month the NSPCC laid out 6 tests the Government's regulation of social media will be judged on if it is to achieve bold and lasting protections for children online.  The charity said in order to make the UK a world leader in child protection online, regulation must:-

1. Create an expansive, principles based duty of care.

2. Comprehensively tackle online sexual abuse.

3. Put legal but harmful content on an equal footing with illegal material.

4. Have robust transparency and investigatory powers.

5. Hold industry to account with criminal and financial sanctions.

6. Give civil society a legal voice for children with user advocacy arrangements.

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