Carlisle United apprentices and staff were the latest group to benefit from former England ace Paul Stewart’s delivery of a safeguarding awareness education session, as part of the LFE Life Skills Programme.
Determined to make a difference to safeguarding within the game, Paul spoke candidly about his journey through childhood to life as a professional footballer. Speaking before the session, he told the club website: “Since I came forward in 2016, I’ve always wanted to try and make a difference.
“People might say it was brave, but for me it was all about trying to make a difference, because it is raising awareness and educating the industry.”
“When I look at my career, I didn’t enjoy it, and that’s why I try to tell the young lads that they should enjoy this experience.
“I know they can enjoy it by understanding that if they have an issue, however big or small, there is a support network around them now and they can talk to someone immediately and confidentially.”
The 1991 FA Cup winner also works closely with the EFL and the NSPCC to provide training to Heads of Safeguarding and those in other roles, too. Last week, Paul attended the LFE headquarters to present to internal staff and deliver Safeguarding training.
Speaking to Carlisle United’s media team, he said: “If you feel something isn’t right please talk to Scott Taylor (Head of Education), talk to someone you trust, and don’t keep anything in, as I did for many years. The challenges within the game are difficult enough without carrying anything else on your shoulders.”
Head of Education Scott Taylor commented: “It was great to have someone like Stewy come up to Carlisle to help us raise awareness and help educate the first and second-year youth lads.
“I like many others was shocked by the BBC documentary (Football’s Darkest Secret) that featured Paul, and other survivors like David White¸ earlier this year.
“These guys were some of my footballing heroes growing up, and to learn about their stories of sexual abuse all these years later was very emotional for me.
“Obviously as the club’s designated safeguarding officer I was also very interested in the findings of the Sheldon Report, published by The FA, that soon followed and which investigated non-recent sexual abuse allegations in football.
“Myself, Nigel Clibbens and the board realise that safeguarding has got to be a priority at the club, and excellent educational sessions such as this presentation by Paul Stewart are so impactful and help to spread such an important message.”