PRESS RELEASE: Efforts to encourage improved practices intensify with coaching help
CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA: Coaches from the Ministry of Youth Development & Sports participated in a major workshop Monday as part of good governance efforts to address issues relating to child safeguarding in sport.
Some 20 of the Ministry’s sports coaching staff attended the intensive Level 1 and Level 2 training programme organised specifically for the Ministry’s coaching personnel and facilitated by the Sacred Sports Foundation.
The training programme was designed to help the sports coaches better understand their role in helping protect and safeguard local youth in their care. As well as providing basic awareness training and guidance on identifying and reporting signs of abuse, the workshop focused on providing safer and more enjoyable spaces for youth attending local sports programmes. Attendees were asked to provide police certificates of character as part of the registration process. The programme leads to a UK certified Level II child safeguarding certificate.
“We are delighted to partner with the Sacred Sports Foundation to deliver this important workshop,’ said the Ministry’s officer in charge Patrick Mathurin at its opening. “We at the Ministry place maximum importance on protecting our youth and this is a clear sign that we will do everything we can to safeguard our children.”
The workshop marked a significant milestone for Sacred Sports Foundation, which has been working with local organisations for some time on two key objectives, focusing on child centred rights development and in the process improving child safeguarding practices and helping educate on the need for safe spaces to play in local communities.
“We must ensure the best possible environment for our children when they are outside of school and playing on our fields and courts,” said Delroy Alexander, chairman of Sacred Sports Foundation. “This programme is an important step in the right direction to ensuring that our coaches and mentors understand the role they have in creating a safe and secure space for our kids to play.”
Supported by FIFA’s Football for Hope initiative, SSF has trained more than 70 coaches, here in Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada. The Foundation offers a comprehensive child safeguarding programme to local coaches, clubs and associations, helping them implement internationally accepted child safeguarding practices, standards and policies.
Working in local communities, the programme has extended efforts to reach the most vulnerable segment of the population. It also is helping establish one of the region’s first child safeguarding registration programmes, providing training in child safeguarding methods and registration of local coaches/youth mentors.
Sacred Sports has also partnered with Trinidad-based Caribbean Sport Development Agency (CSDA) for a train the trainers’ workshop in Saint Lucia, designed to help increase the number of skilled coaches/youth mentors and young girls equipped with effective tools to tackle child safeguarding issues.
Substantial health and education benefits are expected to accrue from the subsequent increase in participation in sport, and increased number of girls that will continue to play sport as they get older.
The programme will improve coaches and youth understanding of basic child rights and the number of safe spaces to play