Most children associate sport with having fun and making friends. Nevertheless, more than 1 in 8 children in the 3rd-5th grade have at some point dropped a leisure activity due to bullying or poor welfare. Klubfidusen wants to change this - on the football pitch initially.
Klubfidusen consists of a number of activities and specific materials to support child camaraderie and the values of tolerance, respect, care and courage both on and off the pitch. The materials are targeted at players, coaches, club boards and parents, because all of these impact the club's culture. For example, the management must appoint a welfare ambassador and prepare a welfare action plan for the club, and the coaches must select activities to work on with the players. One activity is the ‘friend baton’, where the usual club mascot is given to the person who has been a good friend either on or off the pitch. Another activity is the 'team buddy', where a player on the team is picked to help a new player. A third example is the exercise leaflet, which contains 30 feel-good exercises to motivate both football skills and teamwork.
Klubfidusen is initially being trialled in five football clubs, and from spring 2014 football clubs all over the country will be able to order Klubfidusen for their club.
Since 2007 The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark have worked purposefully on strengthening positive child communities through their anti-bullying programme Free of Bullying. Since 2006 the Danish Football Association has with its ‘Attitudes and Action’ programme increased awareness of welfare and greater security among children and young people in Denmark. The cooperation is the first in which all four parties are participating.
“Starting Klubfidusen is exciting, because it focuses on including welfare in the actual training, which is new to us. We are a large club with a broad spectrum of children, and that’s why it is important to us that football isn't the only focus - but also the children's welfare.”
Bullying and Well-being
Bullying and a failure to thrive are interlinked. When a child is bullied, he or she does not thrive. And when a children's group is not thriving, there is a big risk of bullying and social isolation arising. Thriving in a children's group is all about giving all of the children the right tools and values, so that tolerance and togetherness become the focus. The work to prevent bullying is therefore inextricably linked with fostering well-being and inclusion.