Nicky Clark, a volunteer in football, was awarded a national Safeguarding Star Award at the recent Child Protection in Sport (CPSU) Conference.

Clark, was nominated for her safeguarding work this year with Jarvis Brook Juniors FC, who play in the Sussex leagues. She was one of six nominees, recognised for outstanding achievements, to be invited to the gala dinner to receive her award.

The CPSU were presented with 25 nominees from across the world of sport for their safeguarding work, and all nominees were recognised at the conference. Other award winners from football included Denise Hicks, a Youth League Welfare Officer for Sheffield U18 District, and Adam Green from Everton. Congratulations go to all of our 3 winners - it's fantastic to see them recognised in this way. The FA, FL and PL have all worked hard to ensure there is a designated person in every club with youth teams.

Each National Governing Body and County Sports Partnership across the country was given the opportunity to nominate three safeguarding stars from their individual sports or partnership.

The FA had a Panel which included The Football League, Premier League, CFA and FRA selected the nominees which were put forward by both professional clubs and County FA's.

These awards were formed to recognise the role that welfare officers play across sport, which is vital to ensure standards in safeguarding are maintained and raised. There are currently over 11,000 volunteer Welfare Officers across the country that give up their time to help promote and develop safeguarding standards.

Clark said of her award: "It's very humbling for me, a great honour to be recognised but one I want to share with all the thousands welfare officers out there as well, as it is recognition for all of us and hard work put in by volunteers in grassroots football.

You hope you can give something back into the sport and help children enjoy football. It is very much about having fun in a safe enjoyable environment and awards like these highlight how important welfare is in this day and age."

Clarke has worked as a volunteer at Jarvis Brook FC for over 10 years when she answered a call for volunteers from the Club Chairman, and took up the role of Welfare Officer over four years ago. Away from football, she works in the Police force for Surrey Police.

Jim Hill, CDM for Cambridgeshire was also one of the 25 successful nominees. Jim was nominated by his local County Sports Partnership and this is indicative of the great partnership work Jim has done over the years working proactively with other sports to embed safeguards locally. We are delighted that Jims hard work has also been acknowledged.

The Premier League and The Football League received a number of nominations from professional clubs which were forwarded for consideration. Although only one was successful in receiving an award from the CPSU the professional leagues will seek to acknowledge the hard work over and above their paid role of all of those nominated now that the announcements of the winners has been made.

The CPSU play a lead role in helping sports organisations to develop and implement their responses, policies and procedures, systems and structures for safeguarding.

Since 2001, the CPSU have worked with sport and statutory agencies to ensure that all children, regardless of their level of participation in sport or where they participate, have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Anyone interested in getting involved as a welfare officer should simply contact their CFA Welfare Officer by clicking here