The Gloucestershire FA, Somerset FA and Wiltshire FA partnered together to deliver a series of Play Safe webinars.
The webinars hosted during the week of the 12 September, saw attendees listen to Dr Georgie Ford, Paul Stewart and the Two Johns.
The first webinar on Tuesday 13 September, Dr Georgie Ford [PHD – Mental Health in Education] delivered a session focusing on mental health for under 18s. Audience in attendance were introduction to the basic concepts and language of mental health and mental illness. The hour-long session ensured attendees understood the importance of language when engaging with those 18 and below who experience mental health challenges and how best and to support them.
The following evening, we were joined by former professional player, Paul Stewart. Paul played for Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and was capped three times by England. Paul scored Tottenham’s first goal in their 1991 FA Cup Final triumph.
After a successful career, Paul waived his anonymity in 2016 and spoke about the physical and sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a youth coach as a 10-year-old. In a very emotive evening, Paul highlighted the importance of safeguarding in football and shared his experience from a survivor’s perspective.
The final webinar of the week was hosted on Thursday 15 September and we were joined by The 2 Johns. Also known as John Woodley & John Staines, they are both qualified Police Trainers, E-safety trainers and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) Ambassador trainers. The session they delivered looked at Online Child Sexual Exploitation of Children (OCSE) and staying safe online. Those in attendance were given informative and practical advice on how to safeguard children in the digital world.
The Gloucestershire FA, Somerset FA and Wiltshire FA and all attendees throughout the week would like to pass our gratitude and say a big thank you to our guest speakers. Each evening was informative, insightful, and open and honesty.
We will continue to commit to raising safeguarding awareness and supporting all our clubs and teams throughout the County in embedding the best safeguarding practices and policies, making football in a safe, fun and inclusive place for all.