A Message from Navan RFC’s Club Welfare Officer (CWO), Gwen Searle.
As we come to the end of this rugby season, I would like to take this opportunity to update the members of Navan RFC on all Safeguarding activities within the club. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Gwen Searle and I am Navan RFC’s Club Welfare Officer (CWO). Primarily, my role is to ensure a safe, fun, and all-inclusive environment for Age Grade Players and Vulnerable Persons involved in playing rugby here in our club. In order to achieve this, we comply with the IRFU Safeguarding Policy and with our statutory obligations as established in the recent enactment of the Children First Act. The IRFU Safeguarding Policy establishes quality safeguarding standards and guidelines on current best practice. I would strongly encourage all club members, and in particular, club volunteers, to familiarise themselves with the contents of the Policy. We have a collective responsibility to maintain good safeguarding standards, therefore it is important that we all know what these are and what constitutes best practice. If our children feel safe and are having fun while playing rugby, they are more likely to remain active in rugby for a long time, and this will ensure the future of our club. The completion of a Club Action Plan each season ensures that we are meeting all of our safeguarding requirements. (The Safeguarding Policy can be found on the IRFU website- www.irishrugby.ie. I will display a hard copy of the Policy on the new Safeguarding Noticeboard next to the main bar in the club – please do not remove it). The Children First Act has created statutory obligations on organisations that work with children, and this includes sports clubs..In accordance with the legislation, we are obliged to ensure that all persons involved in working regularly and continuously with age grade players must be Garda Vetted prior to commencing in their respective roles. To put it simply, it is a legal offence for anyone who is not Garda vetted to be working regularly and continuously with young and vulnerable persons. This season, I have submitted Garda Vetting applications for upwards of 100 volunteers in the club. It is a huge undertaking and I wish to thank all volunteers for their compliance and patience. I cannot stress the importance of ensuring that any new volunteers who become involved throughout the season, are Garda Vetted prior to commencing in their role. It is irrelevant if they are already Garda Vetted through other organisations or professional bodies. The legislation requires the appointment of a Club Welfare Office to oversee the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy. I have been involved in the role of CWO for almost 5 years now. I am up to date with all training requirements for my role and I have recently renewed my Garda Vetting. The legislation also requires the CWO, along with the Club Chairperson, to complete a Risk Assessment to consider the potential for harm to come to children while they are in Navan RFC. Leo Finally and I completed the Risk Assessment in March and published and signed the Child Safeguarding Statement, in accordance with the legislation, and which is displayed on the Safeguarding Noticeboard. To date, we have achieved compliance with all of our statutory obligations and we will continue to work towards maintaining good safeguarding practice.
I would also like to remind all club members of the Codes of Conduct to which club players, coaches, parents and spectators should be familiar with and adhere to. The Codes of Conduct are currently displayed on the Noticeboard in the main hallway up the steps from the shop, on the Navan RFC website and also in the IRFU Safeguarding Policy document. The Codes of Conduct encompass the rugby ethos of respect, dignity and teamwork. Finally, I hope to use the Newsletter and website to communicate any Safeguarding information or initiatives as they arise via the IRFU. Next season, I will endeavour to meet with parents and coaches of all age groups to give a brief presentation on policies in relation to codes of conduct, travel and supervision, and disciplinary and reporting concerns. We may seek volunteers with a view to establishing a Safeguarding Committee……For any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me. Gwen Searle firstname.lastname@example.org