It is the policy of the Calder Valley Fell Runners (CVFR) to ensure that everyone who takes part in fell running activities promoted by CVFR should be able to participate safely, considering the inherent potential hazards of the fell running environment, and be protected from neglect and physical, sexual and emotional abuse. This Welfare Policy explicitly focuses on children and young people but the principles and codes of conduct apply to everyone.
This document is abbreviated and adapted for fell running from:
- The UK Athletics (UKA) Safeguarding Policy
- England Athletics (EA) Safeguarding and Welfare
The document comprises:
- CVFR’s principles for welfare
- A statement of the role of the CVFR Committee in welfare matters
- Codes of conduct for relevant groups to guide good practice
- Information regarding CVFR Junior Tuesday night and other training sessions
- Information regarding “Junior Athletes Training with Senior Groups”
- Appendix – Incident Report Form.
The key principles of this policy are as follows:
- All fell runners whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to be safe-guarded and protection from abuse.
- Anyone under the age of 18 years is considered as a child for the purposes of the policy. They will be referred to as a child from the perspective of parents and child protection and as a junior from the perspective of fell running.
- In all activities and decisions involving juniors, the junior’s welfare is paramount.
- Coaches, event organisers, and helpers will be provided with documentation and support to ensure they can implement the policy.
- Adults working with juniors should be aware of, and always adhere to, good practice.
- Working in partnership with juniors and their parents/carers is essential for the protection of the junior.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- Adults working with juniors will be protected from wrongful allegations.
- CVFR recognises the statutory responsibility of Social Services departments to ensure the welfare of children and it is committed to working with Local Area Child Protection Committees, and, where appropriate, to comply with their procedures.
ROLE OF THE CVFR COMMITTEE
To ensure the effective implementation of this policy CVFR, primarily through the Welfare Officer and Junior Coordinator, will work with race organisers, coaches, helpers and other individuals to ensure the welfare of the juniors in their care.
The role of CVFR Welfare Officer on behalf of the Committee is:
- To develop, monitor and review welfare policy, ensuring compliance with UKA welfare policy.
- To promote amongst clubs, coaches, race organisers, fell runners and helpers’ awareness of the policy, of good practice and of the legal Framework in this area.
- To encourage and facilitate adherence to the policy and implementation of statutory regulations relating to child protection.
- To receive and advise on queries and reports from individuals. Reports may be submitted using an incident report form (see Appendix)
- To initiate action on reports when appropriate.
CODES OF CONDUCT
The Codes of Conduct describe good ethical conduct and practice for fell runners and those groups supporting and developing fell runners and managing the sport.
CVFR club officials
- Consider the well-being and safety of fell runners before the development of performance
- Promote the positive aspects of fell running
- Display consistently high standards of behaviour
- Ensure that all races are appropriate to the age, ability and experience of those taking part
- Implement recommendations of FRA, UKA and EA
- Act to amend bad practice
- Respond to any indication of abuse
- Maintain confidentiality of any junior involved in incidents or cases and of any adults, unless disclosure is required or recommended.
- Treat all others with the same respect and fairness that you wish to receive
- Thank those who help you to participate in fell running
- Respect diversity amongst fell runners
- Act with dignity always
- Challenge anyone whose behaviour falls below the expected standards of welfare in fell running
- Uphold the same values away from fell running as you do when engaged in fell running.
- In races promote safety by:
- entering only if you have the experience and skills (e.g. navigational) necessary for the race
- obeying any Rules for Competition
- complying with any safety requirements, including specified clothing and equipment
- being able to recognise the signs of hypothermia and hypoglycaemia in yourself and others
- if you see someone in trouble, helping them, even if it costs you the race
- if you retire, following the organiser’s retirement procedure.
And juniors specifically
- Notify a responsible adult if you have to go somewhere
- Not respond if someone seeks private information, unrelated to fell running e.g. home life
- Use safe transport or travel arrangements
- Avoid destructive behaviour and leave fell running areas as you find them
- Never engage in illegal or irresponsible behaviour
- Tell parents, carers or the Club Welfare Officer immediately if anything makes you concerned or uncomfortable or if you suspect a club mate has suffered from misconduct by someone else.
- Check out the people who are coaching or managing your child
- Take an active interest in your child’s participation
- Attend training and races whenever possible
- Ensure that your child does not take unnecessary valuable items to training or races
- Know where your child will be and who they are with
- Return a Parental Consent Form to the Club/Coach/Junior Coordinator, providing consent to activities, contact details, and relevant medical information
- Inform your child’s coach of any illness or disability that needs to be taken into consideration for fell running
- Provide any necessary medication that your child needs for the duration of any trips
- Never make assumptions about your child’s safety.
- Know and comply with FRA Rules for Competition
- Understand and implement FRA Safety Requirements for Fell Races
- Follow the Access and Environmental Guidelines for Organisers of Fell Races.
- Review your coach training documentation on welfare at intervals, including factors that promote welfare and factors that undermine welfare, and reflect on your own performance in this area as a coach
- Make sure you are appropriately qualified for activities that you coach and update your licence and education as and when required by UK Athletics
- Ensure that activities you direct or guide are appropriate for the age, maturity, experience and ability of the individual fell runner
- Clarify with fell runners (and where appropriate their parents or carers) exactly what is expected of them and what runners are entitled to expect from you
- Place the welfare and safety of the fell runner above the development of performance
- Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every fell runner and treat everyone equally, regardless of background or ability
- Develop working relationships with fell runners based on mutual trust and respect
- Encourage and guide fell runners to accept and take responsibility for their own behaviour and performance
- Consistently promote positive aspects of the sport, such as fair play, and never condone rule violations or the use of prohibited or age-inappropriate substances
- Avoid all behaviours that provide a bad example to others (e.g. abusive language, bullying, harassment, physical or sexual abuse)
- Challenge inappropriate behaviour or language by others
- Avoid the development of intimate relationships between yourself and athletes coached by you
- Avoid spending time alone with a junior unless clearly in view of others
- Report any accidental injury, distress or misunderstanding or misinterpretation (including if a junior appears to have been sexually aroused by your actions). A brief written report of such incidents should be submitted to the Welfare Officer as soon as possible and parents/carers notified. An incident report form is available
- Report similarly any suspected misconduct by other coaches or other people involved in fell running.
Junior Training Sessions
The main Calder Valley Fell Runners Junior training session is on Tuesday evening, 5.45 p.m. to 6.45 p.m. (arrive at 5.30 p.m., if possible, and allow up to 7 p.m. as a finishing time); at Mytholmroyd Community Centre (MCC). The training sessions are term-time only.
Coaches and Junior Support Team will endeavour to arrive before the junior runners and set up registration. All runners arriving should go immediately to register, so that we have a clear list of those participating on that evening. If you have arrived to run, registered and then don’t go out with a group, then please let the coaching team know this. At the end of the session, at least one member of the coaching team will remain until every junior runner has left MCC.
We have a number of Level 1 and Level 2 qualified coaches, all with up-to-date DBS checks. The Level 1 coaches are qualified to train – as group leaders – junior runners aged 12 years and over. They are also qualified to lead a group if there is a Level 2 coach within visible range. Level 2 coaches are qualified to lead groups of all ages. Whilst not all of the coaches are available every Tuesday, we do have a coaching rota which is up-dated in advance of every half-term, and is posted on the CVFR Junior web pages.
Junior Co-ordinator, Welfare Officer and Secretary
As well as the team of coaches, the above roles make up the junior committee. Currently (2021) Andy Clarke has the joint role of co-ordinator and welfare officer and Thirza Hyde does the admin/secretarial work, including up-dating membership lists, contact numbers, etc.
We have a number of formalised parent helpers who are also listed on the website rota. In addition, a number of parents will regularly run out with the training groups – more typically those of the youngest members – and they can also participate in helping with the overall structure of the session. Helpers will often be asked to take on specific roles, such as the back-marker/sweeper for the group, or to spread themselves evenly across the running group, to ensure that no gaps are able to open up.
Ages of Children
Because we have a range of ages, we run through the winter nights, and we are often off-road, we do ask that the children have reached (or close to reach) their 7th birthday before they can join. As a junior section, we do include young people up to the age of 17, however there is a separate section below which describes our welfare policy for those juniors, aged 15-17, who are willing and deemed able to run out within the senior section of the club.
There are a range of varied and interesting training sessions that our junior coaches will create on a Tuesday evening. These can include a run out on the fells; a run out on the higher, quiet lanes; varied runs in the park; varied runs in the woods; hill reps on either fell, track or road; fartlek; relays; speed sessions; and running games sessions.
Whilst the coaches themselves will liaise regarding up-coming sessions, it is not possible to put out definitive and diarised lists, because there are a number of potentially unpredictable variables – including availability of numbers of coaches and parent helpers, numbers of children and the weather conditions on a particular evening.
Numbers of children attending to train on a Tuesday evening can range from less than 10 to more than 50. The average numbers are typically between 25 and 40. If 3 coaches are available, then we will often split this larger group into 3 (1 slightly older and faster group; 1 teenage group; and 1 slightly younger group)
Injuries and Health Issues
If any of our junior runners has a pre-existing condition, then we do ask parents to let us know about this verbally, and also provide information on the membership application form. Confidentiality and discretion are paramount issues for us in these situations. We are very keen to have conversations with children, young people and parents regarding any condition that they believe may be relevant, as we are club that strives towards maximising our ability to include.
If any runner has come to run on a Tuesday night yet feels that they may have an injury or illness, then they, or their parent, should inform the coaches and a joint decision can then be made regarding whether they will run or not. The lead coach will also ask their group if they are all fit and well enough to participate in the session, before setting off.
If any athlete becomes injured or unwell during the session, then they need to tell an adult as soon as they can. The group will always have sufficient adults in order to manage the early return to base of individual(s) should this be necessary. Runners who have inhalers – and who may need them on a run – are encouraged to carry them either in a coat pocket or bum-bag.
With more significant injuries or illnesses – or any unusual incident – the club does have an “incident form” (appendixed to this policy), which should be requested, completed and signed by the club’s welfare officer.
Junior athletes and their parents will be advised upon the optimal “gear” that the children and young people should ideally be wearing and carrying. Most important are the wearing of good quality and appropriate training shoes, as well as the wearing and/or carrying of good quality clothing. In particular, water-proof outer layers and head torches are strongly recommended for our winter periods (October through to April). Parents and young people will be questioned by the coach leaders if it is felt that their running “gear” may put them at risk.
Coaches leading the group will endeavour to establish before-hand any potentially additional risks to the particular session and communicate this to the group. For example, if there is a road crossing on the session, the group will be informed, before setting off, where and how they will cross and who will help with this.
Junior Athletes Training With Senior Groups
Some junior runners are able and willing to join senior training groups – most typically on the regular club training session, Tuesday evening.
The club will endeavour to apply the following guidelines:
- The junior runner should be aged either 15, 16 or 17 and wish to run with the seniors (there may be a situation in which a mature and strong-running 14 year-old may wish to join some of the senior sessions. As always, this would only be arranged following careful and considered discussion with the young person and their parent(s)/carer(s)).
- Reiterating the above, joining a senior group should be with active parental or guardian consent (except for unusual circumstances; for example, the junior runner no longer lives with parents).
- If the junior runner has previously run with the junior training section (which is most typically the case), then, with runner and parent permission, relevant discussion should take place between the junior coach(es) and the senior training group.
- An appropriate level, agreed training group should be identified for new juniors (if any doubt, then the agreement should always be to “match down”; for example, if the junior runner could potentially fit into the “medium” training group, then good practice would be to start with the more “steady” group).
- All senior Tuesday night training groups have their policy of ensuring that all members of the group are safe-guarded and, particularly, not split up or left behind. It would be additionally recommended that one member of the group could be identified – on each training session – to “look out for” any junior members. This doesn’t have to be the same identified person each time, however it is particularly important if the junior runner is relatively new to the senior running ranks.
- We are now in the process (as of autumn/winter 2021/22) of trialling an older-junior running group, going out at the same time as the senior runners, and with identified adult runners as part of that group. These adults are not involved in any official coaching capacity, but simply volunteers who have agreed to be part of this group and who have identified – in advance if possible – their Tuesday night availability. This new initiative will be reviewed as appropriate.
- If a junior runner turns up for a senior training session and is not previously known to the junior coaches, then discretion needs to be applied by the senior training group. If they are under 15, then they should not be allowed to join the group. If it’s possible for the senior representative to speak with either parent/guardian or a junior coach, then this communication could be important. If the senior runners have any serious doubts regarding the junior runners’ ability to maintain the pace, then they should not allow them to run out with that particular group.
APPENDIX – INCIDENT REPORT FORM AVAILABLE HERE
Welfare Policy updated November 2021