The IRFU, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and the ISPCC have joined forces to ‘Stand up against Bullying’ with the development of a new toolkit which will allow clubs review, audit and improve their anti-bullying policies to ensure values of respect, inclusivity and fun are known and shown to everyone in rugby.
The initiative will be piloted with Child Welfare Officers in rugby clubs in March – to coincide with the ISPCC’s anti-bullying month.
The toolkit will then be distributed to all clubs and made available on IrishRugby.ie.
Clubs that use the toolkit to implement an anti-bullying campaign, in line with the IRFU child welfare policy, will receive a Blue Shield to display in their clubhouse to highlight their commitment to ‘Stand up against Bullying’.
To help fund their work, ISPCC volunteers will be fundraising at the Ireland v England match this weekend. Those who wish to support the vital work undertaken by the ISPCC can Text* SHIELD to 50300 to donate €;2.
Launching the initiative, Ireland number 8 Jamie Heaslip said: “I’ve been an ambassador with the ISPCC for a number of years and this is a great facility for kids to have someone to talk to, at the end of a phone-line when they might not have someone else in their life for that.”
ISPCC ambassador Rob Kearney echoed his team-mate’s comments, saying: “The programme is really good as clubs have a fantastic affiliation with kids and the more we recognise that bullying is not accepted, with role models and people standing up to it, I think that can only be a good thing.”
IRFU National Safeguarding Officer Anne-Marie Hughes said: “Irish rugby’s vales of respect, inclusivity and fun are particularly important for children to understand as they provide a blueprint for behaviour not just on the field of play, but off it too.
“We have come together with the ISPCC to develop the ‘Shield Your Club’ toolkit which is a child-centred, user friendly document to help clubs review and update their current policies and underline their commitment child welfare.”
Andrew Jackson, ISPCC’s Anti-Bullying Co-Ordinator, added: “The ISPCC is fortunate to work with a number of rugby players and we are really pleased to come together with the IRFU to develop a toolkit that will encourage clubs to join us in our campaign to stand up against bullying.
“The IRFU provides us with a great entry point into the community to further emphasise that bullying is not acceptable in any form.”
Clubs looking for more information or wishing to sign up to receive the ‘Shield Your Club’ toolkit should email email@example.com.
* 100% of your donation goes to the ISPCC across most network operators. Some operators apply VAT which means that a minimum of €;1.63 will go to the ISPCC. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 0766805278.