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  • Writer's pictureRoss Taylor

Drake is awarded clubmark!


With all the negative media surrounding child welfare and some of the committee recalling the dark days of judo when we were growing up, Drake Judo Club set out to enshrine judoka welfare right at the heart of all the club’s activities. As we were also formally starting up the club, the formative months also provided a unique chance to put the correct foundations for the future of the club in place without the inertia of “we’ve always done it that way” restricting decisions


When we were originally looking into Club funding back at the beginning, it became obvious that we had to have a few basic building blocks in place. There was a recollection of an old British Judo Scheme called “Clubmark” that might have the framework that we were looking for.

For those that are not aware, Clubmark (regretfully not Club Mark, which might be a touch disappointing for some having read some of the comments when we announced this on social media), is a scheme administered by our sport’s National Governing Body, the British Judo Association, supported by Sport England, that recognises clubs with a commitment to maintaining high quality judo provision in a safe environment for young people. The award of the Clubmark and the display of the logo highlights to organisations locally that our club takes this seriously. Parents, schools, carers and community organisations can have increased confidence in the way our club is run and how we supervise young people.

In a practical sense, the work that the committee has put in over the last year or so, has established the way that the club operates. As a result, the Club now has a designated and trained Club Welfare Officer, a Constitution, a membership form and membership records, policies and procedures in place for accident reporting and first aid, right through to a formalised organisational structure and job roles and codes of conduct for all of the committee, coaches and volunteers. There is even a Development Plan for the next few years (a lot of which we have already ticked off!).

We are very fortunate that Jess Frise has taken on the role of Club Welfare Officer. Jess has undertaken specific training to be able to qualify for the role and has responsibility for all matters pertaining to welfare. Any concerns, no matter how small, should be discussed with Jess in a completely confidential and non-judgement manner. If there are any matters that the coaching team or the committee need to be aware of and acted upon, then Jess will raise this in a discrete manner appropriate to the circumstances.

At first glance, this is quite akin to setting up a small company, but it really allows the Club to start off on the right footings. There has been a myriad of challenges along the way: the away trip policy was a particularly thorny issue but we resolved that quickly enough prior to the Bath University jaunt.

Another practical benefit of the Clubmark scheme is that it requires a link to a local school. It was with much pride that one of our judoka’s schools, Whitchurch Primary School in Tavistock, agreed to form a link with us. There are three different levels of link, but the most basic was a “Yellow Belt”. This requires both parties to have an open communication and for Drake Judo club to have an annual demonstration at the school which has been reported on the web site already. There a certificate for both the Club and School to display. The Tavistock class has seen the results of the demonstration already, with many new judoka joining us, including a parent!

We will continue to reach out to local schools in Tavistock over the coming months and more so in September when some of our active judoka join Tavistock College, whom of course, host our sessions but with whom we have no formal link. That will have to change!

Of course, there are other benefits for Drake Judo Club in achieving this recognition. Aside from getting a rather swanky certificate (we just need a wall to hang it on!), it opens up more potential funding streams, gives access to marketing and promotional support from the BJA and even allows us to redeem Sainsbury’s Active Kids for equipment! Of course, this is all secondary to the primary purpose of Clubmark; to demonstrate a clear commitment to our young judoka that we take their welfare seriously.

Drake Judo Club’s Committee are extremely proud to have gained this recognition in such a short time. The award must be renewed on a three year basis and the standards must be maintained and developed. So all judoka or their parents or carers can be assured that this is just the start of an ongoing commitment to their welfare.

Go Drake!

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