Help and Advice
We all want to return to normality, but we are not there yet. The Pony Club continues to follow Government advice and we ask that we all maintain responsibility for the safety of ourselves and others around us. We are providing regular updates to all members, branches and centres in the CEO Updates, which can be viewed here.
Below we share answers to frequently asked questions to provide you with the latest information.
If you require additional support, please be aware that most of the office staff are currently on the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughed until further notice. Urgent queries should be sent to email@example.com or addressed to your DC, Area Representative, Centre Proprietor, Coordinator or the relevant Sports Chairman who will escalate as appropriate.
If you have an immediate concern about a child please call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or your local police on 101 or visit: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/coronavirus-advice-suppport-children-families-parents
Coaches and officials need to keep disclosures up to date. Please contact your branch or centre to help with this as they hold the login details. There will not be any support for DBS applications available from the office during the furlough period.
- DBS: You can renew your DBS check through the online portal offered by Disclosure Services. Disclosure Services are working on a smaller team and priority is going towards applications for key workers. However, they are still processing all applications through the online portal. Please contact them directly on their helpline with any queries you have. Tel: 01978 510100, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- PVG: Disclosure Scotland are currently prioritising applications for essential sectors including: healthcare, pharmaceutical, childcare, social work, social care and prisons & justice. All other applications may be delayed during this period.
- Access NI: You can renew your ANI check through the online portal.
As with the disclosure checks there are no extensions for safeguarding qualifications. For those looking to renew safeguarding training this can now be done online during the current restrictions (including when you would have previously needed a face-to-face session). There is a discussion at the moment about how long this training will be valid for: if you would normally have been due the online refresher, this will be valid for the normal three years, if the online course is replacing a face-to-face session then it will be valid for 18 months in the first instance. This is because you may then be in the situation of going 6 years between face-to-face sessions, which is not being advised. I will keep you updated on this. To book onto the online Safeguarding Course, please go to the PCUK events page here.
A qualified first-aider must be present at all Pony Club activities.
The current extension for renewing first aid training was due to end on 30th September 2020. This followed the advice of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which currently states that to qualify for the extension you must be able to:
- Explain why you haven’t been able to re-qualify
- Demonstrate what steps you have taken to access the training, if asked to do so.
Although face to face first aid courses are up and running, in many areas there has not been the course availability. We are therefore extending the first aid requirement for a further 3 months until the end of the year, 31st December 2020. You should make every effort to update your training in this time. Online refresher courses are available, which are valid for 12 months. This may be a good option to take the pressure off finding a face to face course if necessary. A reminder that a coach with an expired first aid certificate can still teach, providing that there is an official with an up-to-date first aid qualification present.
The CPD expiry date has been extended to the end of the year. In addition, the Training Committee has agreed that CPD can be undertaken online provided you can participate with live interaction and have an element of self-reflection. CPD has to be approved by the Area Rep, who will consult with the Chair of the Training Committee before it will be recognised as an official Pony Club CPD.
Online learning is becoming the new normal and as we become more adept at using the range of platforms available, we need to remember our safeguarding training, the security of the platform and any age restrictions in place.
Centrally our team are using Microsoft Teams to connect virtually, but we are aware many of you are turning to the Zoom platform to deliver or access online training and coaching. There are many documents available to help you navigate how to use Zoom, but we thought we would share a document created internally on best practice and top tips to help you get set up. You can view this here
Please ensure you are not communicating with young people if they are not of the correct age to use a platform, it is vital that parents or guardians are informed of all communication taking place, to protect both parties. Standard Safeguarding practice is that no adult should be having direct private contact with U18s. Contact from Area Reps, DCs , Proprietors and Coaches should be made to the parent. Please also note that WhatsApp has a minimum age of 16 and displays users’ numbers.
The Pony Club members’ third party liability insurance continues to cover all of our members (including branch, centre and centre plus members) for their use or ownership of a horse or pony, in exactly the same way as normal.
You are required to continue with 12-month equine flu injections to participate in Pony Club activities.
This year, as a result of the Covid19 crisis, we and all the BEF sports are waiving the "within 6 month" rule for vaccinations. However, we recommend that you seek advice from your vet regarding 6 monthly boosters, depending on the rate of equine flu infection.
As always, the welfare of our horses and ponies is a priority. Please ensure you make a contingency plan for looking after your animals if you fall ill or are unable to get to the stables / field. The RDA has produced some useful advice in association with World Horse Welfare and they are happy for us to share these practical and useful tips; https://www.myrda.org.uk/assets/CORONAVIRUS-EMERGENCY-PLANNING-FOR-EQUINES-March-2020-V1-PDF-1.pdf
A reminder that all membership is now on a rolling 12 month basis. If you join now you will get a full year's membership.
The Pony Club continues to offer lots of support and ideas for activities that can be done within the Government guidelines. Branches and Centres are running leagues, quizzes, fun competitions, online learning and video sharing amongst other activities to keep members busy and engaged.
Now that we are resuming small group lessons, The Pony Club insurance is still very much an essential part of the membership fee and continues to cover members for third party liability.
We understand this is a difficult time financially for many of our members and as a registered charity we too are being prudent with the funds we have left to support members. We have furloughed over half our staff members and we have placed a number of projects on hold. However, to ensure The Pony Club is still here when this is all over and so that we can provide activities for all our members we are not refunding membership fees. Other BEF Member bodies and wider youth organisations are in a similar position. This decision has not been taken lightly, but we would like to support all our members equally and fairly at this time.