Preston North End is lending its full support to Play Safe – a national FA-led campaign to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding in football.
The main element of Play Safe is a series of short films which emphasise the importance of clubs such as ours having safeguarding embedded in all that we do.
The films also explain to parents/carers and children themselves know what to do if they feel unsafe or worried, because nothing matters more than making sure football is safe for everyone, especially children and young people.
The campaign will launch this weekend across the Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women's Super League and the FA Women's Championship.
Rebecca Robertson, Head of Community Engagement for Preston North End Community and Education Trust, and also its Designated Safeguarding Officer, said:
“A key part of everything that we do is safeguarding, particularly after the past couple of years we’ve had; we’ve amended policies, procedures and really looked into how we want to keep our participants safe and how we want to ensure that everyone feels supported on programme.
“We run amazing programmes that are accessed by a number of people in the community who we need to keep safe, who we need to keep supporting and need to make sure they have a safe environment, which is somewhere that parents and guardians can be happy for their children to access and is also somewhere that everyone can have fun in that environment.”
FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham added: “As a youth team coach, I will be working with my club to ensure we support the Play Safe messaging.
“I am also pleased that the campaign has the support of the former footballers with lived experience of abuse in football, who are on our Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group. The Group has collectively said:
'Learning from the past is crucial, so that we can prevent the horrific experiences that happened to us and so many others in football, from happening again. As a group of survivors, we fully support the ethos and important messages that Play Safe conveys – whether to club officials, parents/carers and or vitally, children and young people themselves. Equally important is that Play Safe is not a one-off campaign – it will be used at key points in the football calendar to remind everyone in football, that children’s welfare and keeping them safe, should be at the heart of all that we do.'"
As the Survivor Group points out, you’ll see Play Safe appearing at various points throughout the season to keep safeguarding front of mind in football. Together, we want to do everything we can so everyone – particularly children and young people – has a consistently positive experience of our great game.
Click here to find out more about the campaign.