Safety and Wellbeing in Sport must take Priority as Duty to Care Campaign Launches to Protect Participants and Coaches
Posted: Mon, 05 Jun 2023 10:01
UK Coaching has launched a new hub of resources to provide extensive learning and support for the nation's 3 million coaches, who have found themselves under increasing pressure following a number of high-profile athlete abuse investigations across major sports.
The Duty to Care Hub and Digital Badge is intended to galvanise the coaching workforce to fulfil its obligations around the education and provision of duty to care and to increase coaches' confidence and put their own welfare, as well as the safety of their participants, at the centre of their coaching.
There can be zero tolerance for those who do not prioritise the well-being of their participants. However, the fallout from the Whyte Review has led to a significant rise in the number of coaches concerned about the fast-changing landscape and seeking guidance concerning best coaching practice.
The Duty to Care Hub will include guidance and resources on the topics of Diversity, Inclusion, Mental Health and Well-being, Physical Well-being, Safeguarding and Safe to Practice that will help coaches grow their skills, knowledge and behaviours to tackle pressing welfare issues in physical activity and sport with confidence. Additional elements include concussion, mental health support, online safety for children, the stigma surrounding menstruation and LGBT+ inclusion.
According to a recent YouGov report, commissioned by UK Coaching, 90% of participants say they have confidence and trust in their coach. This insight shows coaches are uniquely placed to provide essential 'wraparound care' for their participants and the support offered by UK Coaching will promote and ensure the safety, well-being, and positive experience of all individuals involved in sport and physical activity.
The announcement comes at the start of UK Coaching Week – the annual national awareness campaign which empowers athletes, coaches and the public to celebrate great coaching. As part of the campaign, UK Coaching has created a comprehensive Duty to Care Hub of learning resources, along with a Sport England-funded nationally recognised Digital Badge to equip coaches with the knowledge, behaviours and skills needed to provide the best possible care for their participants.
The Duty to Care movement will see the organisation lead on making a positive difference to the health and happiness of the nation by helping coaches understand, practice and have the highest commitment to safe sport as the foundation of great coaching practice.
Mark Gannon, UK Coaching CEO said:
"We are proud to be launching Duty to Care as part of UK Coaching Week. Following a number of high-profile investigations into safety and culture in sport, it has never been more important for us to support coaches and advocate Duty to Care for all.
"Neglect of coaches will set sport in the UK back years, and to respond to the urgent issues of welfare and safety in sport, we have to support coaches with education and resources to be the best they can be and feel confident in their practice. Coaching is now rightfully included as a 'Position of Trust' in recent safeguarding legislation, and bodies need to work with and support coaches to ensure all participants have a positive experience in physical activity and sport.
"As the leading voice of coaches across the UK, it is our responsibility to advocate for a care system in sport that protects everyone, and commit to creating equitable and inclusive environments within coaching and all forms of sport and physical activity delivery. Our Hub of learning is helping to ensure this is put into practice, by helping coaches build the right knowledge and behaviours to make a lasting difference to the lives of those they coach. What we're asking is for coaches to lead by example and embody the values of Duty to Care in everything they do."
Three-time Olympian Hannah Miley, who now is dedicated to delivering workshops on periods in sport and how coaches and athletes can understand physical well-being better, expressed her support for UK Coaching Week and the importance of coaches' Duty to Care:
"Coaches have a vital role in supporting the health, safety and well-being of their athletes, and this UK Coaching Week it is fantastic to see the release of new resources for coaches to help in providing the best wraparound care for participants at every level. Specific resources and education across all areas of care will help ensure coaches feel confident and empowered to prioritise their 'Duty to Care'.
"It is essential to see more resources dedicated for coaches across every aspect of care for athletes, because coaches play a huge role in creating the right environment and culture for the people they coach to thrive. Open communication is the key to progress, and the more we help coaches with the information they need, we'll see a profound impact on the health and happiness of the nation."
Through Duty to Care, UK Coaching is also advocating for a 'care system' in sport and physical activity that protects everyone equally – this includes coaches, as well as the wider support system of nutritionists, physios, strength and conditioning specialists, and administrators. Duty to Care doesn't just apply to the people being coached – by caring for themselves, coaches can bring their best selves to sessions and continue to support more people across the nation to be active.
To find out more about Duty to Care and to access the Hub, visit https://www.ukcoaching.org/duty-to-care
To find out how you can get behind UK Coaching Week visit https://www.ukcoaching.org/coaching-week