...Plymouth Argyle’s Chief Executive Martyn Starnes has moved to reassure parents and guardians of children and vulnerable people involved with the Pilgrims.
In a letter, Martyn has outlined the club’s robust and extensive approach to safeguarding and welfare issues and emphasised that the club has no suspicions that any abuse, historic or otherwise, has occurred at Plymouth Argyle.
Full police checks (first called ‘CRB’ and now ‘enhanced DBS’) have been made with staff members and volunteers who work with children and vulnerable people ('regulated activity’) at Home Park for many years now. Further checks are also made, for example, by checking internet and social media history.
Argyle has well in excess of 200 people at, or connected with, the club who are required to undertake regular safeguarding training and who help ensure that the club’s policies and practices are adhered to and implemented to good effect.
The club also has a named Safeguarding and Welfare Officer, and the Chief Executive himself holds the role of Senior Safeguarding Manager.
The letter included a firm commitment to ensure that Argyle remains as safe a place as possible for everyone to work and play football at, and that the club will “remain constantly vigilant and continue to review and improve what we do whenever we identify suitable opportunities, and implement national best practice whenever we can.”
Parents and guardians have been provided with a number of ways in which concerns can be raised with relevant people at the club. In addition, the Football Association, working in conjunction with the NSPCC, have set up a free, independent, 24-hour national helpline, the number of which is 0800 023 2642.
Further to this, the club has given complete assurances that it takes all issues connected with safeguarding seriously, and will deal with any issue arising robustly, ethically and sensitively.
In concluding his letter, Martyn says: "Although I felt it important that I write to you, particularly given the recent national news stories that have horrified us all, I would reiterate that we have no suspicions of any such wrongdoing at Home Park and indeed, take great pride in our reputation as a genuine, community-based and family-friendly football club.”