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Downshire Tennis Club – Travel Policy

Overnight, Staying Away & Hosting 

This policy deals with a number of matters which come under the general heading of Travel including travel, supervision and behaviour on away matches or on club organised extended trips away. It also sets out the NGB/Branch/Club’s policy in regard to acting as a host or being hosted.

Overnight & Away trips

The level of supervision for overnight trips away will be of no more than 6 children per adult. There will be at least one adult of each gender with mixed groups. The supervision proposals (which will require to be approved by the person tasked with signing off on away trips) will include the proposed child to adult ratio and the names of the adults who will act as supervisors.  All adults who travel on away trips will be carefully chosen, using the recruitment and selection procedures set out in the Recruitment Policy. The Club/Branch/NGB will appoint one adult to be the Group Leader who will have overall responsibility for ensuring that all Child Protection policies and procedures are complied with.

The roles and responsibilities of adults participating in away trips will be clearly defined.

Written permission of parents/guardians allowing their child/children to take part will be obtained for all overnight away trips. This will include permission to travel and any medical/special needs of the child (including permission to treat the child).

Children and parents/guardians will be required to sign a behaviour agreement prior to taking part in the trip.

A meeting with parents/guardians and participants will be held with those tasked with the management of the trip to communicate travel times, accommodation arrangements, competition details (where applicable), other activities, gear requirements, special needs (medical or dietary), and any other necessary details, contact details, codes of conduct, etc.

See Appendix 11 for support documentation. 

Away Matches

Similar to away trips, the level of supervision for away matches will be no more than 6 children per adult. There will be at least one adult of each gender with mixed groups. All adults who travel to away matches will be carefully chosen, using the Club/Branch/NGB’s recruitment and selection procedures. One of the adults will be appointed as Team Manager. He/she will have overall responsibility for the conduct of all members of the team (including adult supervisors).

Written permission of parents/guardians allowing their child/children to take part should be obtained for all away matches. This will include permission to travel and any medical/special needs of the child (including permission to treat the child).

Children will be reminded of their obligation to abide by the relevant Code of Conduct for Children.

Accommodation for Away Trips

Where practicable, the proposed accommodation will be checked out in person beforehand to ensure that separate and appropriate sleeping arrangements can be made in advance. If it’s not possible, there should be checks of the accommodation on line and a careful read of the reviews followed by written confirmation that the booking is exactly what was reserved in the original reservation. 

Adults should not share a room with a child. Where the presence of an adult is needed there should be more than one child in the room with the adult. If children are sharing a room, it should be with those of the same groupings age and gender and in separate beds.

Adults should knock before entering rooms.

All group socialisation should take place in communal areas (i.e. no boys in girls’ rooms and vice versa).

General Requirements

Young players should be under reasonable supervision at all times and should never leave the venue or go unsupervised without prior permission.

Alcoholic drink, smoking and other illegal substances / activities are forbidden to participants. Leaders should act as role models in this respect.

On away trips, coaches will be accountable to the Group Leader/Team Manager in all non performance-related matters.

In the event of an occurrence Accident and/or Incident Reports should be completed by the Group Leader/Team Manager.  


Being a host family or being hosted is an integral part of many sports and, if handled appropriately, can add to a child’s enjoyment and experience at a competition. Hosting can be a challenging role but also very rewarding. Special care should be taken in the selection of homes for overnight stays. A host should be provided with as much information about the child/children staying with them and details of the competition. More than one child should be placed with each host family. The family in turn should agree to provide references and be vetted when and if this is available. In addition, organisers should follow the recruitment and selection that is also outlined in this code. 

When arranging for events/trips abroad, the Club, Branch or Tennis Ireland will be dependent on the ability of the host organisation to access vetting services and obtain appropriate references. It is the responsibility of the trip organiser to provide the hosts with the relevant information on the child and details of what is expected.

Host families should: 

  • Agree to abide by the National Governing Bodies Code of Conduct. 
  • Consent to appropriate checks and references. 
  • Attend host family meetings before competitions or events. 
  • Provide a safe and supportive environment for young people. 

Tennis Ireland/Branches/Clubs should: 

  • Provide a travel pack to hosting families. 
  • Check out references with hosting families. 
  • Provide an itinerary of the trip. 
  • Gather information on destination and venue. 

Young People: 

  • Should sign a behaviour agreement. 
  • Should not be asked to share a bed or a room with an adult. 
  • Should not be asked to share a bed with one of his/her peers. 
  • Should be happy with the arrangements. 
  • Should show respect to the host families. 

Transporting Young People 

Many organisations/clubs could not operate without the goodwill of volunteers and parents ensuring that children are transported to events and returned home in a private car. Sport Ireland and Sport NI do not state that coaches/ volunteers can never transport a young person by themselves. They do, however, recommend individuals and organisations recognise the risks and put in place appropriate measures to reduce these risks. 

The risks 

The vast majority of coaches and volunteers will help out through a genuine desire to see children or their particular sport develop. Unfortunately we must face the reality that a small minority of people will join a sports club as an opportunity to gain access to children. These adults create an air of acceptability about their role, therefore justifying their close contact with children.

Although those who want to abuse children may find it more difficult to do so in a group setting, such as a leisure centre or sports pitch, they can use this time to gain the trust of not only the young person but also other adults, including parents/carers. This is known as ‘grooming’ or ‘entrapment’. Developing credibility is an essential part of any abusers ‘grooming process.’ An abuser will “groom” the environment i.e. creating a justifiable reason for getting the child alone. 

Easy rules to remember when a club are organising transport 

  • It is good practice to receive informed consent from parents and young people who will be transporting their child, why and how long the journey will take. 
  • Attempt to have more than one child in the car. 
  • Alternate drivers if possible and which child is dropped off last. 
  • Driver should have a point of contact/mobile phone. 
  • A person other than the planned driver should talk to the child about transport arrangements to check they are comfortable about the plans. 
  • The driver must ensure that they have insurance to carry others. 
  • Drivers representing and volunteering on behalf of a club should be vetted through National Vetting Bureau/Access NI if driving regularly, and therefore meeting the regulated activity criteria. 
  • Consider the need for booster seats. 
  • Parents and coaches can also download Sport Irelands Safe Sport App at Participation/Code_of_Ethics /Code-Of-Ethics-App.

One of the features of the App is a ‘Travel Tracker’ function. This allows parents and coaches who are driving someone else’s child/children home, for example after a training session, to permit the child’s parent or guardian to view and have oversight of their location for a specified period of time while they are travelling on a journey. 

Personal arrangements between parents 

If parents make personal arrangements between themselves this is not the responsibility of the club unless there are particular concerns about a parent’s ability to drive for example due to the consumption of alcohol. 

The use of booster seats

From 2006, the law in Europe requires all children in cars, vans and other goods vehicles to be carried using an appropriate child restraint until either they have reached the age of 12 years or are 150 cm (5’ in Republic of Ireland) and 135 cms (4’ 5” in Northern Ireland) or whichever comes first with very few exceptions. 

The European law allowed countries to opt for a minimum height of between 135 and 150 cm. For more information visit; 

Republic of Ireland: About-your-Vehicle/Example-of-non-Dup/Seat-belts–child-restraints-/ 

Northern Ireland: 

Signing off on Trips Away

Tennis Ireland, the Branches and the clubs should identify a person who is responsible for signing off on the trip and to ensure that all the necessary policies and procedures are in place prior to travelling to the Event. The Club Safeguarding Officer, the Designated Liaison Officer should be the last port of call for the Club and the Branches and the National Coordinator should sign off for players travelling to events organised by our NGB. 

Reporting on away Trips

The trip Lead Manager in consultation with his assistant supervisors unless there are any important incidents to report, should within 10 days submit a report to the person who has overall charge of trips away for the Club, Branch or NGB. 

Please see Appendix 11 at the back of this document or on our website for sample template forms and documents for the necessary implementation of the policies and procedures required for trips away  

Supervision, Ratios & Environment 

Ensure adequate Adult / Child Ratios: 

Good practice dictates that a leader should try to ensure that more than one adult is present. This will help to ensure the safety of the children as well as protect adults. 

Adult / Child Ratios: 

  • Will depend on the nature of the activity, the age of the participants and any special needs of the group. A general guide should be 1:8 for 12 years of age and under, 1:10 for 13 years of age and over. 
  • For trips away Tennis Ireland’s guide is 1:6
  • There should be at least one adult of each gender with mixed parties. 


  • As stated above, away trips will need higher rates of supervision 1:6 and these should be ensured with the organisers. Children and young people should be supervised at all times. 
  • Avoid adults being left alone with young participants, if a leader needs to talk separately to a participant this should be done in an open environment, in view of others. 
  • Respect the privacy of young people while changing. Leaders may only need to enter changing rooms where the participants are very young or require special assistance. 
  • When necessary, leaders should supervise in pairs or seek assistance. It is the safety and welfare of the participants that is of paramount importance. 
  • Leaders should not be left alone with young people at the end of a training session. Clearly state times for start and finish of training and/or competitions. 
  • If late collections occur leaders should remain in pairs until participants have left. 
  • It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to make arrangements for collection of young people. It should be made clear that the club is responsible for only club activities. 
  • If a child suffers an injury or accident the parents/ guardians should be informed. 

October 2020