Safeguarding team profiles

Ahead of this weekend’s ‘Play Safe’ campaign, we at Newport County caught up with some of our safeguarding team at the club to find out why the work that they do is so important.

First, Head of Safeguarding Kelly Anderson who has been in her post since 2021 but involved in the club since 2019!

I joined the Board of Directors at Newport County AFC in July 2019, where I started building on the Junior Trust memberships, and enhancing our family activities on a match day, which has continued to go from strength to strength with Joe (Crocker).

“Whilst in my second year on the Board I started to become more involved in Safeguarding and took over the role. It was when the role became available, I made the sad decision to leave the Board to apply for the role as Head of Safeguarding as it was something I felt so passionately about. 

“I have previously worked within education, with children who have speech and language difficulties and additional needs. I also worked for an anti-bullying charity called Kidscape where I supported in delivering anti-bullying workshops to children and awareness workshops to adults who work with and support young people in their communities. 

“No two days are the same here, as I work across the whole Club, including the Academy and County in the Community. One day I could be re-writing policies ensuring that they are up to date with the most recent legislation and guidance, the next I could be planning to deliver a campaign like this weekend's 'Play Safe' campaign.

“Another day I could be out visiting an Academy training session, meeting children and chatting to parents/carers, delivering safeguarding inductions to new staff, parents and players, hosting training sessions around specific subjects, delivering 1:1 wellbeing support sessions with individuals, or representing the Club at an EFL or FA meeting. 

Within the responsibility of my role, I oversee elements of the safer recruitment process, dealing with any safeguarding investigations on behalf of the Club which could see me liaising closely with the EFL, FAW, FA, local authorities, children’s services and the police, and ensuring that we meet our legal and moral obligations within those, along with ensuring that we meet the EFL standards expected within the audit requirements.  

Ultimately, I work with and liaise with great teams to ensure that we can keep everyone safe and enjoying their experience here at Newport County AFC.

Safeguarding in sport is absolutely critical, as in a nutshell, you want your policies and procedures and your safer recruitment processes to stand up and stop anyone unsavoury from coming into the Club to work with children and vulnerable adults.

“You only have to look at some of the recent reports that have come out, such as the Whyte report into abuse in gymnastics, or the Sheldon report, which is the FA inquiry into abuse that took place in football between 1970-2005, which some of which was detailed in the BBC documentary 'Football's Darkest Secrets'. 

“I have been blessed to hear Paul Stewart speak about his experiences of abuse, and I say blessed because his courage and bravery to come forward and speak about his abuse, drives me to do my utmost to ensure that that never happens to any child in our club ever. 

“I work hard with my team to ensure that we are creating a culture where we have that approachability, so people feel that they are free to be themselves and that they can talk to us about anything, knowing that their place in our club will never be at risk for raising a concern in good faith, and that they will be listened to, and supported, whether their concern comes from inside or outside of football. 

For me 'Play Safe' is a campaign that runs all year round, and this weekend I am proud to support the campaign along with the Club, which aims to highlight the vital role that parents/carers can play in sport. It is vital that they always encourage their children to be confident in speaking up and encouraging them to talk to a trusted adult when something isn't right.  I would encourage any parent/carer with a child in sport to take the free FA safeguarding course which they can access here

We also heard from Academy Designated Safeguarding Officer Gareth Evans…

“Prior to joining Newport County, I was a Police Officer with South Wales Police for 31 years dealing with various scenarios in a safeguarding environment managing threat risk and harm on a daily basis. So as a result of my previous career I have a wealth of experience I bring to my current role.

“My current role is Head of Operations which covers the day to day running of the academy ranging from player registrations to match confirmations, travel arrangements to booking officials.

“I am also the designated Safeguarding officer for the academy, this entails having an overview of safeguarding issues for the academy being a pointy of contact speaking and helping players’ parents and supporting the Head of Safeguarding

“My role also includes me having to constantly risk assess venues, pitches, travel arrangements, events. Despite this being an operational matter, I still have to consider the safeguarding element to ensure that everything is appropriate for the players within our Academy to keep them safe.

“Another aspect is ensuring the safer recruitment process is followed when appointing staff which involves aspects such as following up on references, checking qualifications etc

“Safeguarding is very important to me from my previous and current role being in a position to help people and create a safe environment. Especially for all the players here at the Academy that they have the best possible experience with us at here for their time with us.

Play Safe is a great initiative to support as it highlights safeguarding in sport and helps educate around this area, so the more people that have an understanding of safeguarding the better it should get.

If you need to report a safeguarding issue of any kind to the club, please do so by emailing or by telephone 07519 822227.