LTA launches first ever Young Person’s Welfare Ambassadors scheme
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We have announced the start of an innovative new scheme to put young people at the heart of safeguarding in tennis venues across Britain.
We're launching a new scheme for young people at LTA Registered Venues to help raise awareness of safeguarding and provide a direct link to those most at risk.
Evidence suggests that adolescents are more likely to speak to a friend or peer if they are victims of sexual abuse and the Ambassadors can also help spread awareness of the routes to report abuse amongst their peer group.
Initially 25 Young Person’s Welfare Ambassadors have been appointed to these new roles to provide a bridge between venue welfare officers and children and young people who attend the venue. The scheme will be piloted for one year and if successful extended beyond this.
The Ambassadors’ role is both to provide a young person’s voice and perspective to promote safeguarding and welfare at their venues.
In their role they will not only raise awareness of safeguarding and welfare issues amongst members and players, but also gather feedback from young people, to enable them to have a greater say in safeguarding discussions. Finally, they will provide an important link between venue committees and children and young people.
Every Ambassador will work with an existing venue welfare officer who will support them and continue to act as the primary welfare and safeguarding lead at the venue. Given their age the Ambassadors will not be dealing with safeguarding issues themselves.
The Ambassador’s will also receive support and training from the LTA’s Safeguarding team and will be involved in the Safeguarding Support Visit process that the LTA undertakes with registered venues.
As well as their work in venues the Ambassadors will help the LTA to further enhance its child friendly resources and webpages for young people.
The 25 Ambassadors have already been selected, are aged between 12-24 and will undertake training throughout their year in their role.
This is the first such scheme using young people to be actively involved and integrated in safeguarding work in clubs and venues that we are aware of in any sport in Britain and is another layer in the LTA’s safeguarding provision.
The LTA believes it is critically important to continue to develop new ways to improve safeguarding provision across the sport, and has received the highest rating possible from the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit for 5 consecutive years.
In 2022 the LTA were announced as winners of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Safeguarding’ category by Sacpa (the Safeguarding and Child Protection Association), and were the only sporting governing body recognised across any of the award category shortlists.
Dave Humphrey, LTA Head of Safeguarding said: “For this first time in British sport we are actively involving young people in a programme of this nature, directly integrating them in the safeguarding and welfare work within tennis venues and supporting them to be an important part of the process. We have an outstanding group of young people who have taken up this opportunity and we look forward to working closely with them and their clubs to improve safety and welfare for everyone.”
Young Person’s Welfare Ambassador, Andrew Luo said: “I signed up to be a YPWA because I wanted to make a positive impact encouraging young people to play tennis like me. My big goal is to make sure the voices of young people like us are heard loud and clear. I want to help create communities where everyone feels welcomed, included and equal, and where everyone can enjoy playing tennis. By volunteering, speaking up for others, and being a good listener, I'm determined to make a positive impact in tennis by promoting a safe and inclusive environment for all participants.”
Michelle North, Associate Head NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit said: “It is very exciting to see the Young Person’s Welfare Ambassador Scheme being introduced by the LTA. Repeatedly, we hear across all sectors that children are not being listened to, or even given opportunities to be heard in issues that impact their lives. So to have a scheme, led by young people, will hopefully break down barriers that sometimes get in the way of reporting concerns.
"It will create a greater opportunity for any concerns that young people have, both in and out of sport, to be raised earlier so that support can be offered, resulting in better outcomes for young people. Young people are often more comfortable talking to their peers and the Welfare Ambassador is likely to have a greater understanding of the worries and concerns that other young people have.”
How to apply
To apply as a Young Person’s Welfare Ambassador, click the below button:
If you have any questions you can contact us at YPWA@lta.org.uk