2022 Highlights From The Ann Craft Trust Safeguarding Adults in Sport Team

Womens Football - Safeguarding Adults in Sport

2022 was another busy year for The Ann Craft Trust Sport and Activity Team.

The team once again grew in size.

In May, Emma Gibson came from a safeguarding and governance role in Badminton England to join the sport team in a new role – Head of Sport.

From being an enthusiastic supporter of Ann Craft Trust to working for the charity has been an eye opener! What an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and committed group of people to work alongside.

I have asked a lot of questions and learned a lot. I feel confident moving into 2023 that there are areas where we can better use our influence, increase our partnership working, and stay true to the main aim of The Ann Craft Trust:

Everyone has a right to be treated with respect and dignity. Everyone deserves to be safe.

– Emma Gibson, Head of Sport, Ann Craft Trust

Our Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager for Wales, Ruth Ingram, left her position. However, we have continued the contract with Ann Craft Trust Associates, including Sarah Knight, Mike Harrison and Ruth herself.

Sarah Nolan, a new administrator, started with the sport team in April. We have appreciated having Sarah’s vast experience and knowledge in administration. Sarah lives local to the University and has linked in with Broxtowe Women’s Project at their Domestic Abuse events.

Having an admin background mainly in supporting students at the university of Nottingham over the last 20+ years, I joined The Ann Craft Trust in April this year.

I am enjoying providing admin support to the Sport team, helping to facilitate their training and advising and signposting enquirers with safeguarding concerns.

– Sarah Nolan, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Administrator, Ann Craft Trust

#SaferCultureSaferSport Campaign

The #SaferCultureSaferSport campaign began in 2021. Our aim is to help sport & activity organisations create safer cultures,  where welfare, safety & wellbeing is at the heart of values & actions. You can read more about the campaign here.

As the campaign ended its first year in May 2022, we created a new logo and a new signature. We have continued to develop events, blogs and podcasts, rounding off year one rounding off with a very inspiring session from the British Paralympic Association.

Throughout 2022, The Change Champions group continued to meet. This is a group of representatives from across the sport and activity sector who support us to spread the #SaferSportSaferCulture message. There have been interesting discussions around how to look at culture and create change. They have resulted in the members considering safeguarding questions at every opportunity, such as when discussing a project at team meetings.

If you want to show your commitment to the Safer Culture campaign, please sign up to receive all the news and information.

Participant Project

The Participant Project team has shifted its focus onto what keeps older people safe.

Tina Thordal and Charlotte Gilmartin ran a very well received session at the Bolton Age UK ADG. They helped participants consider what keeps them safe. They particularly enjoyed hearing Charlotte speak about her experiences of being a high performance speed skater and her thoughts on what makes a safer culture in clubs and groups.

If you run sessions for older adults and would like to hear from them what keeps them safe, please get in touch.

Funding priorities

UK Sport

we remain committed to our UK Sport contract. Kimberley Walsh is working directly with performance sports, providing targeted one-to-one support. She is also delivering training at board, coach, support staff and athlete level, while supporting organisations to work through the Safeguarding Adults Framework.

It is so pleasing to see that there is a noticeable commitment from organisations to do the best for their staff and athletes in relation to safeguarding and wellbeing.

We are now delivering training to the whole organisation. This means ensuring everyone, from athletes and coaches to support staff and the board, are all aware of their roles and responsibilities. Everyone should know what to do if anyone has a concern. They should also know what policies and procedures the organisation has in place to support them. This is a great step forward in helping keep people safe in sport at the elite level.

– Kimberley Walsh, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager, Ann Craft Trust

Sport England 

We are supporting Sport England with their Uniting the Movement strategy.

Our Priorities have been:

  • Engaging with the strategy.
  • Attending networking events.
  • Spreading the word of Ann Craft Trust.
  • Helping individuals and organisations understand that people need to feel safe to enjoy their sport, and that we can work together to achieve that aim.

Completing The Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework is now mandatory for Sport England National Governing Bodies and Active Partnerships.

We have held Framework awareness sessions and directly engaged with over 80% of organisations to promote the benefits of the Framework. We also brief organisations on how they can meet their safeguarding obligations while safely welcoming adults into their sports.

Our work with sport and activity organisations is growing in stature. We have developed policies with and for the sector, and created many new resources. The Safeguarding Forum is instrumental in shaping new resources as well as providing a network of support for each other.

Sport Wales

We have continued our contract with Sport Wales to provide support for Welsh sport organisations.

One key aim is to develop a better understanding and awareness about recent legislative changes.

Our work has included:

  • Bitesize learning workshops.
  • Contribution to a governance survey to understand where Welsh sports are in terms of their safeguarding adults awareness.
  • Holding one-to-one meetings with a number of sports to develop action plans.
  • Strengthening our working relationship with The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU).

We were pleased that Sport England helped us support Welsh organisations with the Safeguarding Adults Framework. We have identified a number of Welsh sports to pilot the Framework in early 2023.

In 2023, we also intend to appoint a permanent Safeguarding Adults in Sport in Wales manager. We will advertise this role in the coming months, so look out for a job listing in a future sport update.


The Safeguarding Adults in Sport Managers have delivered four  Level 3 courses – now known as Advanced Training – to Lead Safeguarding Officers in NGBs and Active Partnerships.

In the latter part of the year we developed and piloted two sessions of an Essentials Training course aimed at Club Welfare Officers and Club Safeguarding Officers. The feedback from the people who attended has been invaluable as we develop the course to roll out in 2023.

We have also been commissioned to work on a small number of projects relating to sport and activity. This includes training and consultancy for Sport Scotland, The Premier League and Commonwealth Games England.


At the start of 2022 we collaborated with The CPSU to run a Safeguarding in Sport and Activity Conference.

We received some excellent feedback, with delegates appreciating the chance to hear from expert speakers and workshop leaders.

Towards the end of the year we held our annual Safeguarding Conference. Many representatives from sport and activity attended, from organisations such as The CPSU, NGBs, Active Partnerships, Special Olympics GB and County FAs.

Intimacy Choreographer Nicole Perry and Erin Sanchez of One Dance ran a fascinating workshop exploring the concept of power. We will continue to develop this theme in the coming years.


The Safeguarding in Sport Team attended and presented at a number of online and in-person events.

In March, Nicola Dean and Joanne Pell attended the Include Summit, to bring the message of safeguarding adults and wellbeing to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion event.

It was such a fantastic atmosphere at the conference. There was a real emphasis on learning from each other. Taking part in a panel discussion on mental health and wellbeing and speaking to athletes and coaches was the highlight of my year!

– Nicola Dean, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager, Ann Craft Trust

In the middle of the year Joanne enjoyed speaking at the LTA Conference.  “I was so  impressed by the interest in safeguarding adults at club and county level,” she said.

November was a busy month. It saw another successful Safeguarding Adults Week with good engagement from the sport and physical activity sector. The team also ran seminars with the Disclosure and Barring Service and our Safeguarding Disabled Children and Young People Manager, Sarah Goff.

November also saw Emma speaking at a Social Care Conference, ‘Safeguarding Adults – It’s Everyone’s Business’ in Manchester.

This was my first experience of representing The Ann Craft Trust at an external event. I was incredibly proud to talk about the safeguarding adults in sport journey so far and our plans for the future.

It was great to have people come to me afterwards from a number of adult sectors and note the importance of The Ann Craft Trust in the safeguarding adults arena. Listening to the speakers also helped me improve my understanding of the world of adult social care.

I was just so happy to play my small part in it. I will support our marketing team next time by actually sharing something from the event while it happens!

– Emma Gibson, Head of Sport, Ann Craft Trust

Cath Sykes also travelled to Norwich City Football Club to support the work of the safeguarding team. She gave a talk on the #SaferCultureSaferSport campaign and the importance of Safeguardng Adults.

Finally, Sarah and Nicola were involved in the White Ribbon Campaign, attending events organised by Broxtowe Wormen’s Project.

The Ann Craft Trust at Parliament

In June, Kimberley spoke at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights.

The meeting aimed to raise awareness of athlete abuse, sharing challenges in the current system and best practice on how to address it.

“It is great to know that safeguarding adults is being represented in parliament,” said Kimberley “It shows that we have come a long way in raising the issues of athlete wellbeing.”

Cath and Nicola also attended Parliament to speak at an All Party Parliamentary Group in Professional Wrestling. They said: “We were so pleased with the commitment from MPs, Promoters, Academics, coaches and wrestlers to work to create safer spaces for the wrestling community.”

Collaboration and Partnership

We would like to thank all of the organisations that we work with. Without collaboration we could not undertake our work.

In 2022 we continued to work closely with our Safeguarding Partners. This includes The CPSU, NWG, Lime Culture and Sport Resolutions.

We also developed our links with organisations across the wider sport and activity sector. This includes the sport team at MIND, Community Leisure UK,  One Dance UK, Sport Structures and Continuum Leisure.

Moving into 2023

2023 is going to be another busy year as we focus on the Sport England, Sport Wales and UK Sport funded projects.

In particular we are supporting NGBS and APs to undertake the Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework. Some organisations will be completing The Framework for the second time.

We will also continue to run training for the sector and develop focused resources and information. The monthly Sport Update will continue. We hope to see more blogs from people in the sector, relating their experiences of safeguarding adults.

As the Culture Campaign enters its second year we are really looking at how organisations can embed a safer culture. We are encouraging organisations to use the our resources. But we also want to see them developing their own.

The Participant project will continue to help clubs and groups to listen to their members. In 2023 we’re concentrating on safeguarding older people and people with learning disabilities in sport and activity.

Finally, 2023 will also bring a big change in the Ann Craft Trust Team as we say goodbye to our CEO, Dr Deborah Kitson. Deborah was instrumental in starting work with the sport sector. She offered advice to many organisations prior to the Trust receiving funding from Sport England in 2015.

We will miss her considerable knowledge and expertise in safeguarding adults and want to thank her for her dedication to supporting so many sport and activity organisations.