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Paul Stewart Delivers Safeguarding Awareness Session To Morecambe Scholars

Paul Stewart Delivers Safeguarding Awareness Session To Morecambe Scholars

Morecambe FC Scholars engaged in a Safeguarding Awareness Life Skills Session which was delivered by former Premier League footballer Paul Stewart. Paul played for a range of clubs over a twenty two year playing career including Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Sunderland and Blackpool. He was also selected to represent England at all levels of international football and gained three full England caps. Paul is also a winner of the FA Cup, scoring in the 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in 1991.

In 2016, Paul waived his anonymity and spoke out about the physical and sexual abuse he endured at the hands of a youth coach as a 10 year-old growing up in Manchester. He now delivers his safeguarding awareness session for a range of organisations including The FA, League Football Education, English Football League, The Scottish Football Association and across professional and grassroots clubs.

Paul’s session aims to raise awareness about the importance of safeguarding and he delivered the session with his powerful learning and life experiences. He provided a candid insight into safeguarding from his perspective which detailed the physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse he suffered. 

Paul also discussed the banter versus bullying in the workplace scenario and encouraged scholars to think about their actions and the potential effects it can have on others in their peer group. This included the fine lines when banter may become intimidation and mind games.

Scholars were encouraged to speak to their peers to check they were okay and of the importance of listening during a conversation. Paul said “that it could potentially be a decisive conversation which could be of the greatest support to an abused child”   

Morecambe FC Scholars said “Paul was open and honest about the abuse he had suffered and the impacts it had on him and his family. The session was deep and emotive and Paul provided us with truthful and insightful answers to any questions we asked. The talk really hit home and made us realise the support network we have and how fortunate we are to have it”

Morecambe FC Head of Education, Gary Kelly, said “Scholars listened to Paul’s harrowing story of the sexual, mental, emotional and physical abuse he suffered from age 10. Paul discussed how he was threatened to keep quiet and was unable to talk to anyone about the abuse for fear of losing his cherished dreams of a career in professional football. Scholars heard about the ‘silence’ Paul endured without a support and safeguarding network to protect him or to turn to. Scholars also discovered the impacts the abuse had on his personal behaviour and lifestyle choices which included drug and alcohol addiction and subsequent relationship issues.

“Hopefully Scholars will recognise the excellent and vitally important safeguarding network they have within the Academy to support them or alternative options to turn to including the PFA Safety Net service. They are free to concentrate on their footballing ambitions in a safe and secure environment and hopefully make the most of the great opportunity they have been provided with.” 

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