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Charities by their nature are there to make a positive impact in their communities. They work with a varied group of people, from differing backgrounds, ages and stages. Knowing how to keep those people safe while responding to their practical or immediate needs requires specialist support. Which is why NAYC (Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs) & ACUK (Action Centres UK) became members of Thirtyone:eight in 2017.

NAYC & ACUK Ltd are a diverse non-profit organisation helping and educating young people, especially, but not exclusively, through their leisure-time activities to develop their physical, mental and spiritual capacities. Running across three residential centres and one sports facility they supported over 35,000 young people last year.

They have benefitted from membership with Thirtyone:eight in a number of ways, and decided to take their commitment to safeguarding even further by applying for the Thirtyone:eight Safeguarding Standards Award, which they were awarded in 2023. The award is a first-of-its-kind accreditation scheme enabling UK-based churches, charities and organisations to independently verify and evidence their commitment to creating safer places for all.

Working with children and young people, NAYC & ACUK Ltd had always taken safeguarding seriously, as their HR and Safeguarding Lead Karen Anderson explains,

“Before obtaining the Safeguarding Standards Award, I think as an organisation we did pretty well covering safeguarding. However, the award process helped us look at the whole picture and see where we were lacking and where we needed to implement some changes with the help and guidance of ThirtyOne:Eight.

We decided to go for the award after one of our trustees suggested it. We strive to be the best in what we do and saw this as an opportunity to run a safeguarding check across the organisation to make sure we are doing all that we can when it comes to safeguarding.”

The award process is thorough and rigorous. Applicants must supply evidence against 10 categories to qualify including, governance, culture, policy, recruitment, training, working safely, managing workers, responding to concerns, and working with offenders and those who may pose a risk.

Karen continues,

“It was a big task, however, I found that the whole exercise was so beneficial. Questions asked in the Safeguarding Standards immediately made you look at what your policies and procedures were in that area and improve what was lacking. A highlight for us was being asked things that might not have crossed our minds.”

The Safeguarding Standards Award, which lasts 3 years, aims to raise standards and benchmark what effective safeguarding practice looks like, encouraging ongoing development and review. Once completed members of the public can be confident that an organisation has had its safeguarding arrangements independently verified and offers the highest level of protection possible from the damaging effects of harm and abuse.

“We are really proud to have completed and achieved this award. It has made us even more proud of the fact that for every person who comes into our centres, we know that we are a safe place and that we have policies and procedures in place to be able to protect all. I would highly recommend this to any organisation. It is an exercise that helps you immensely and you come away with the knowledge that you have addressed every aspect of safeguarding to make sure you have good policies and procedures in place. It also gives you external validation and assurance that your safeguarding practices are effective.”

Find out more about the Safeguarding Standards Award. 

Find out more about NAYC & ACUK Ltd


Our membership is open to any organisation that wants to raise the standard of safeguarding. Find out about the benefits of membership or join us today and create safer places for everyone.

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