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Club Welfare Officers

The RYA recommends that clubs and centres should have a designated person with responsibility for implementing their safeguarding and child protection policy. 

They do not need to be an expert, but they do need to be approachable and have an open-minded, non-judgmental approach. It is helpful if they have relevant knowledge and experience but training is available (see below). The Welfare Officer's main roles are to ensure that the club has up to date procedures, that relevant staff and/or volunteers are aware of and follow good practice, and to be the first point of contact for any concerns, seeking advice and support from the RYA as necessary.

The RYA maintains a list of Club and Centre Welfare contacts, to ensure that the right people receive up to date information, advice and training.  If your club has young members or organises training or racing for children and young people under 18, or if you have participants who may be regarded as 'adults at risk', please ask your Welfare Officer to e-mail Andrea Gates, RYA Safeguarding Officer, or call 023 8060 4226.

Welfare Officer training

Some local authority Active Partnerships offer a multi-sport workshop for Club Welfare Officers, called 'Time to Listen'.  For dates and venues please see the Child Protection in Sport Unit website.  Most CSPs require attendance at the SportsCoach UK Safeguarding and Protecting Children workshop as a pre-requisite (see Safeguarding Training), but they may accept the RYA 'Safe and Fun' online course.

In Scotland the Safeguarding in Sport Unit of Children 1st has developed a three-hour workshop for Club Welfare Officers called 'In Safe Hands'  Information can be found here: Children 1st website .

If there are no workshops available in your area or it isn't practical for you to attend, the RYA offers an online Welfare Officer course designed for anyone who has responsibility for safeguarding children and young people or vulnerable adults at their Club, Training Centre or Class Association.  The course will help you to understand your role, communicate the need for safeguarding within your organisation, be aware of the relevant legislation, recognise the elements of a safe recruitment process, and respond to concerns.  It is a practical and interactive course with scenarios based on real situations and frequently asked questions.

To enrol, please contact Andrea Gates, the RYA’s Safeguarding Officer, at or call 023 8060 4226.  The price is £18 (£15 plus VAT).  You will be asked to confirm that you have already completed a safeguarding awareness course; this could be work-based training, the SportsCoach UK Safeguarding and Protecting Children workshop, or an equivalent course for another sport. 

If you haven’t done any safeguarding training before, we will accept completion of the RYA online Safe and Fun course, but you should also aim to attend some face to face training if at all possible.  Online training provides you with the relevant knowledge, but does not give you the opportunity to work through scenarios with other people and discuss the issues.

Enrolling for the Welfare Officer course will give you access to the content of Safe and Fun, but please note that if you are intending to qualify as an RYA Dinghy or Windsurfing Instructor, Senior Instructor or Level 2 Racing Coach, you will need to do the full Safe and Fun course through an RYA Training Centre in order to complete the knowledge check and receive the certificate.

The Welfare Officers' Course is accredited by the CPD Standards Office and equates to three hours of Continuing Professional Development which can be used as evidence in your CPD records for professional institutions, regulators or employers.

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