CWOs – Right People, Right Places

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‘Effective CWOs are of the upmost importance to the safe running of your club, and giving them a place on the club committee is the best way to ensure that every aspect of club management keeps members’ welfare paramount.’

British Rowing Deputy Chairman Annamarie Phelps takes a look at just how vital it is having a Club Welfare Officer on club committees.

‘Too often I hear (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) that clubs have filled their Club Welfare Officer (CWO) role with whichever kind volunteer was too slow to say no! However, welfare should be at the core of everything we do in rowing and we strongly recommend that you demonstrate your club’s commitment by making your CWO a full member of your committee.

The club committee is usually the one place that officers are given the complete view of all club activity and policies, and a CWO can review and advise on the impact that committee decisions might have on each group.

It is not the CWO’s job to be an advocate for a club’s young people – theirs is not the role of the junior coach or co-ordinator. However, it is their role to consider how decisions such as transport to regattas, overnight stays, communication with parents might impact both the juniors, and possibly senior or elite squad, and whether any mitigating action might be necessary.

Ask almost any club that has been through a safeguarding case, and you will find they wish they had had better communication with their CWO, had been warned about issues arising earlier, or had been putting into practise the club’s code of conduct.

Guidelines to help clubs select a CWO are given in the Safeguarding & Protecting Children and Vulnerable Adults policies, and specific workshops are available through British Rowing to support and train CWOs in their role.’

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