Rochdale AFC has become the first professional football club to sign up to a new safeguarding app.
The innovative online platform gives the whole club, from players to staff, direct and confidential access to Dale’s welfare team wherever they are, 24/7.
It means players, coaches and staff can report any concerns or issues such as abuse, bullying, harassment and racism directly to the club’s safeguarding Officers, Russ Green and Alistair Linden, via an app on their mobile phone.
The app will firstly be rolled out to youngsters playing in the club’s Academy, before being introduced across the Dale in the Community Trust and then rest of the club.
Rochdale AFC Chief Executive, Russ Green, has welcomed the addition to the Rochdale's already strong welfare programme: “We are delighted to be the first professional football club to introduce this app. We take the welfare of all our players and staff very seriously and tootoot sport is an excellent addition for us, and we regard this as a preventative rather than a remedial action.
“It provides everyone with another way in which they can report concerns and issues directly to the welfare team in a safe and anonymous way, which will remove any barriers that prevent people speaking up about their concerns.
“It will also help us to be even more efficient in our important administration around cases.”
Tootoot's Chairman is the former Oldham and Great Britain Rugby League player, Terry Flanagan. He recognises the importance of Dale’s decision to partner with tootoot sport.
“It is significant that a football club such as Rochdale has become the first professional club to sign up with us. The club has an excellent safeguarding programme already and sees that we can help them to fill in some vital gaps whilst supporting and improving their existing activities.
“We like to think of Tootoot as a fire extinguisher - you have it and hopefully you will not have to use it, but if you do, you know where it is.”
Tootoot sport is inspired by tootoot education and provides three key functions; a confidential online reporting tool, a single case-management function and an insightful dashboard that gives an up to the minute view of what is going on in the club.
Co-founded in 2015, tootoot provided over 250,000 school pupils access to a safe way to report bullying or harassment in their first year, with over 500 schools signed-up to tootoot education across the UK. In 2016 tootoot were awarded funding by the Department for Education to provide a further 120,000 students with access to the platform and app.