2023 Highlights from The Ann Craft Trust Safeguarding Adults in Sport Team

Nicola Dean reflects on a year of activity for The Ann Craft Trust’s Safeguarding Adults in Sport Team.

The team once again changed in May as we welcomed the new Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager for Wales, Jodi Evans. Jodi has brought a wealth of safeguarding knowledge to the team and is learning the new language of sport!

Jodi also recorded her first ever podcast with former Welsh Rugby International Rhys Thomas.

Cath Sykes is now full time, working four days across the Sport England contract and one day as part of our Safeguarding Adults Team. This will enable her to pick up commissioned work from the wider sport and physical activity sector.

Funding priorities

UK Sport

UK Sport has confirmed their funding agreement with The Ann Craft Trust up to March 2025. Our work ensures UK Sport-funded organisations can continue to embed safeguarding adults awareness along with athlete wellbeing and welfare.

There has been another year of great progress and commitment shown from UK Sport-funded organisations. Among those we support on the UK Sport contract:

  • 92% of Safeguarding Leads have completed Ann Craft Trust Advanced Training.
  • 77% have a Safeguarding Adult Policy signed off by their board.
  • 77% of boards have completed Ann Craft Trust training.
  • 42% have completed the Safeguarding Adults in Sport & Activity Framework process. Some have even completed it twice!

With 2024 being an Olympic and Paralympic year, it’s going to be a busy one for UK Sport-funded organisations. We look forward to continuing to support your work.

Sport England 

We are 18 months into our five year contract with Sport England as part of their Uniting the Movement strategy.

We are pleased with the engagement from across the sporting sector. The Ann Craft Trust is now in talks with national system partners as well as NGBs and Active Partnerships. The support for the Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework is growing. More organisations are working through it and attending our Peer Support sessions.

The participant engagement team has been connecting with the Active Partnership Network. Several local groups are now benefitting from this research, and we’re drawing from key learning to develop our training delivery. If you would like our team to visit a club or group to find out what safeguarding means to them, please get in touch.

We also contributed to the national working group for the Sport Welfare Officer programme. This will see a network of 63 welfare officers based in Active Partnerships. The aim is to support their local sports club welfare officers to promote good safeguarding practice for both children and adults. To have such a large investment into sport welfare at a local level is exciting. For those posts to focus on the participant experience for both children and adults is a positive development for all.

We will continue to support this programme through the recruitment process and ongoing CPD across the network.

The work with the wider sport and activity sector continued. Cath Sykes worked with the forum to develop resources and create a ‘Roadmap’ for organisations looking to embed safeguarding adults into their organisations.

Sport Wales

We are now seven months in to our four year contract with Sport Wales. Engagement is ramping up: Three sports are signed up to pilot the Framework and two others are planning to start their journey in 2024.

We have continued to deliver board training with the CPSU. Others have booked training for 2024. We have delivered multiple Essential and Advanced Training sessions in Wales, with new dates also planned for 2024.

Two guest speakers attended the Lead Officer Safeguarding forum. Andrea Cooper from the Older Peoples Commissioner for Wales shared a wealth of knowledge with Welsh lead officers. She wrote about her experiences here. Chief Inspector Chris Back also attended and provided a highly informative session on stalking, coercive control, and domestic abuse.

The Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework

21 NGBs and Active Partnerships completed the Framework in 2023. The sport team continue to support organisations with their planning by running Framework information sessions and follow up peer support workshops.

Framework information sessions for 2024:

Peer support sessions for 2024:


We delivered four Advanced Training courses for Lead Safeguarding Officers. In total we reached 25 English NGBs, Active Partnerships, Sport England System Partners and other sport organisations. The engagement from participants has been positive as they grapple with some of the complexities of safeguarding adults.

In 2023 we introduced a new Essentials Training course aimed at Club Welfare Officers and Club Safeguarding Officers. Facilitated by our Safeguarding in Sport associate trainers, it has generated lots of debate, many lightbulb moments, and some excellent feedback:

This course was delivered very comprehensively by excellent presenters.

Absolutely brilliant session – will help our Club Welfare officers so much!

We also delivered board training to several Active Partnerships and NGBS. This was often in partnership with our colleagues in the CPSU to cover the responsibilities of the board in safeguarding both children and adults.

We have worked with UK Coaching to review, update and refresh the Safeguarding Adults in Physical Activity and Sport course for coaches. There are two versions of this course to choose from. They both contain the core Safeguarding Adults in Physical Activity and Sport module, plus an additional module with a focus on a topical aspect of safeguarding adults: Professional Boundaries and Adults with Care and Support Needs. Learn more about these courses here.

We were also commissioned to work on several other projects relating to sport and activity. This includes training and consultancy for Sport Scotland, the England and Wales Cricket Board, The Premier League, and the Football Association.

If you are unsure about what level of training the roles in your organisation need, check out this handy guide.

For further information about arranging this for your organisations, please contact the team.


We have attended several external conferences this year.

The Include Summit in April explored the links between DEI and safeguarding. There were many reminders to delegates about being the change that you want to see. The keynote on the second day by Suzy Levy discussed how we might build the bridge between talking diversity and taking action. This resonated with the aims of our #SaferCultureSaferSport campaign.

We also attended the Why Sport Conference in September. This focused on the impact that inactivity can have on the nation’s health. It also shared examples of programmes and initiatives to alleviate inactivity.

The Sport Governance Academy national conference took place in Manchester in November. This allowed us to continue to build our sporting connections as well as hearing first hand from some sport governance experts. Emma Gibson, Head of Safeguarding Adults in Sport, joined in a lively group discussion on building the links across culture, safeguarding and governance.

Finally, the UK Coaching Awards 2023 that took place in Leeds in December. It was an awe-inspiring evening where we celebrated the talents, hard work and commitments of coaches from a wide range of areas.


Safeguarding Adults Week goes from strength to strength. This year the sport team ran workshops alongside external partners. Ian Braid of Docia Sport started the week with a thought-provoking session that asked the question: Who’s looking after the people looking after the people?

The week ended with George Bollands from Boccia England talking us through the ‘Your Wellbeing Toolkit’. This is an online tool that brings together a range of resources to support mental wellbeing from organisations and partners such as Mind and the NHS, as well as specific boccia content.

The Ann Craft Trust annual conference featured a keynote from Cadence Wellbeing Speaker and Burnout Prevention Expert, Leanne Spencer. This was an uplifting start to the day which gave us all plenty to think about when it comes to the work/life balance.

The Safeguarding in Sport Team delivered a workshop in collaboration with our colleagues in Club Matters, Grace Clancey and Olivia Warwick, and Hayley Jarvis from MIND. The Workshop explored the relationship between safeguarding, wellbeing and welfare in the sport and activity sector. We looked at terminology and at identifying the connections between safeguarding and wellbeing. We also explored how person-centred strategies are vital in creating safer cultures and when addressing specific concerns.

More than 30 delegates attended this workshop. All took part in a group exercise to explore this topic, and there was plenty of useful discussion and healthy debate.

Case Data Collection Tool Research Group

Joanne Pell worked with researchers from the University of Loughborough and representatives from across the sport sector to support research into safeguarding adults cases. This is the first piece of research to explore how sport organisations manage cases, starting with how they identify them. You can read the research here.

Following this research, the CPSU asked NGBs, for the first time, to include adult data in their case data collection. Next year the group will analyse any adult data returned. This is the vital first step in moving this important area of work forward.

Collaboration and Partnership

We would like to thank all of the organisations we work with. Thank you for your challenging questions and your feedback on our work.

In 2023 we continued to work closely with our Safeguarding Partners:

  • The Child Protection in Sport Unit.
  • NWG.
  • Lime Culture.
  • Sport Resolutions.
  • UK Coaching.
  • Club Matters (now called Boodle).

These collaborations have been essential in developing a clearer picture of what safeguarding should look like in sport and physical activity.

We also strengthened our links with organisations across the wider sport and activity sector. This includes the sport teams at MIND, Sport Structures, The Sports Governance Academy, and Continuum Leisure.

We continued to support the leisure industry through our links with Community Leisure UK, along with our membership of the newly formed Leisure Centre Safeguarding Alliance.

The Safeguarding Adults in Sport Partnership continues to meet three times a year. Membership consists of representatives from the Active Partnership Network, UK Sport, Sport England, Sport Wales, NGBs, and the CPSU. Following a review, we have increased the NGB representation and are using a rolling chair arrangement.

Moving Into 2024

2024 is shaping up to be another interesting year!

A key focus will be inducting and supporting the Sport Welfare Officers, ensuring that they have the skills and knowledge to be able to support clubs around safeguarding adults.

We will analyse the data from the Framework submissions to develop insight into safeguarding adults. We will identify what is working well and where the gaps are, which will drive our overall sport strategy.

The #SaferCultureSaferSport campaign will continue, with a focus on using the insight and resources to support organisations. Look out for an event in Spring/ Summer where we will bring our learning together.

There will be a continued focus on supporting NGBs and Active Partnerships to complete the Framework, as well as supporting other Systems Partners through the process, including the National Disability Sport Organisations.

The Lead Safeguarding Officer meetings for NGBs and Active Partnerships will continue in conjunction with the CPSU and NWG. We are also happy to announce we will be holding joint Ann Craft Trust and CPSU Wales hybrid Lead Officer Support Forums in February, June and Oct for 2024. For those able to join us in person, they will be held at the Sports Wales National Centre and via Zoom for online access. We will release more details about these forums early next year.

The Lead Safeguarding Officer Meeting for the wider sport activity sector meet four times a year. Find dates and booking information here.

Keep an eye out for the official launch of the Roadmap, and the e-learning resources for the wider sport and activity sector.

Finally, with 2024 being an Olympic and Paralympic year, it’s going to be getting busy for UK Sport funded organisations. We look forward to continuing to support your work. And of course, to watching the games!