Sport Welfare Officers Network


Wesport has recently welcomed two new members of staff to the team. Bryher Freight and Matt Walker have joined a network of Sport Welfare Officers based in Active Partnerships across England. Bryher and Matt will be working with clubs across Bath and North-East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire promoting safer environments for all. 

Bryher joins Wesport as a previous secondary school teacher with experiences in safeguarding and welfare spanning the education and sport sectors. She has previous experience as a Safeguarding Officer within an athletics club in Cornwall. Bryher is a keen rugby union player having played for 4 years at both club and county level within Cornwall.

A keen archer, Matt joins Wesport having previously worked in the safeguarding team of a national governing body. He provided training for Club Welfare Officers and supported clubs to meet national safeguarding requirements.

Wesport Chief Executive Officer, Steve Nelson said “we are delighted to welcome Bryher and Matt to the team. They bring a wealth of experience in sport welfare from the community level to national governing bodies. They are a great additional resource for clubs to utilise to ensure they are safe, welcoming places for children, young people and adults at risk to participate in sport.” 

What is the Sport Welfare Officer Network?   

Across England, sports clubs and organisations are being supported by a new network of Sport Welfare Officers. They have been recruited by Active Partnerships and funded by Sport England through an investment of National Lottery money.   

The Sport Welfare Officers are working with National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and key partners, such as the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit and Ann Craft Trust, to develop a new local approach to assisting and supporting club welfare officers, to create safer club environments and improved experiences for young people and adults.   

The network aims to increase welfare capacity and expertise at a local and national level and share best practices to help prevent concerns, making sport safe for everyone.  

The programme contributes towards the Uniting the Movement strategy and is one of Sport England’s commitments in the policy response to the Whyte Review, published by Sport England and UK Sport.  

The Whyte Review questioned the level of responsibility and support given to volunteers at grassroots level. The network, in place until March 2027, will complement all sports existing NGB safeguarding services and provide additional local capacity to help support safeguarding compliance to become embedded in the culture.  

What is the purpose of a Sport Welfare Officer’s role?   

Bryher and Matt’s role is to;             

  • Provide additional, local support for club welfare officers.    
  • Signpost clubs to the right advice and guidance.    
  • Work with club welfare officers to create a safer culture within their organisation.    
  • Facilitate local training opportunities and events.   
  • Create networks so that volunteers and staff feel better connected and informed.   
  • Recognise, share, and develop best practice. 
  • Help raise awareness of safeguarding and welfare for young people and adults at local events.