The NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) is calling on parents across Northern Ireland to take a more active role in youth sports clubs to ensure their children are safe and enjoying what they are doing.
‘Parents in Sport Week’ is an annual campaign led by CPSU to encourage parents and sports clubs to work together to ensure children are properly protected and reach their full potential. It is also an opportunity for sports clubs to reach out to parents who may be less engaged and get them on board.
Parents play a pivotal role in encouraging and supporting their child’s participation, success and enjoyment when playing sport. The CPSU is also calling on them to check that all the safeguarding requirements of the youth sports club are being met in full.
Presenter Denise Watson said: “As a mum of two children who are heavily involved in sport, I know how important it is to support them. I’m there at the side-lines cheering them on and giving them encouragement all the way but it’s vital to know they are safe. It is of paramount importance that sports clubs and parents work together to encourage children to take part and enjoy the activities, as well as ensuring they can thrive in a safe environment. That’s why I’m backing the NSPCC’s Parents in Sport Week”
Paul Stephenson, senior consultant at CPSU, explained: “We know parents play a critical role in youth sport. In fact, without parental support and involvement – from washing kits to the taxi of mum and dad – it’s likely that youth sport would cease to exist.
“We also know that without parents’ involvement in their child’s sport, children are less likely to achieve and sustain a lifelong interest in sport and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
“Parents in Sport Week is important because it encourages parents to make sure they are positively influencing their child’s involvement and wellbeing in sport and recognise their role in keeping them safe. It also encourages clubs to ensure they are engaging with parents.”
This Parents in Sport Week, parents are being asked to:
- Ensure that sports clubs provide the information they need so they can make informed choices about the clubs or activities they send their child to.
- Look at their behaviour to make sure they are a positive influence. Advice is available on the CPSU websiteto support parents in this.
To lend their support, sports clubs can:
- Make sure they tell parents what they can do if they have a concern, such as calling the NSPCC helpline (0808 800 5000).
- Be open with parents about what their child needs from them in relation to their behaviour.
- Use our resources to engage with parents, help them to support their child and raise awareness of the impact positive parental involvement can have on youth sport.
For more information about Parents in Sport Week, and for downloadable resources for both parents and clubs, visit the CPSU website