Two Bath Rugby stars swapped the pitch for the classroom as they threw their weight behind a charity’s fight against child abuse. Matt Banahan and Matt Garvey visited Kingswood Prep School in Bath on recently to show their support for the NSPCC’s ‘Speak Out Stay Safe’ programme of assemblies and workshops.

Since 2013, the charity’s school service staff and volunteers have spoken to more than 4,000 primary school children in Bath and North East Somerset about what abuse is, the different forms it takes, and who they can speak to about any worries they may have. The two Matts took part in an interactive workshop with Year 6 pupils, answered questions about rugby, and even gave some top tackling tips during a Year 5 rugby session.

Father-of-two Matt Garvey said, “The NSPCC are doing fantastic work educating children in an effort to help them feel safe to talk out when something doesn’t seem right. It was really interesting to see how they achieve that in schools, and the children were so engaged which was brilliant. It is such an important message.”

Bath and England wing Matt Banahan, a dad-of-three, added, “It is crucial that children know if they have any worries whatsoever there are people who will listen to them and can help. No child should ever feel alone.”

Kingswood Prep has supported the NSPCC for a number of years, having raised almost £5,000 for the charity to date, and has hosted a number of assemblies and workshops.

Philip Dixon, deputy headmaster, explained, “Here at Kingswood Prep School we believe that empowering children with tools to help them to keep safe is a vital responsibility of ours as educators. Staff at Kingswood Prep school are very grateful to the NSPCC for the assemblies for our younger and older children and workshops for Year 5 and Year 6 about keeping safe. These were presented in an informative, sensitive and effective way and I am confident that our children are better prepared as a result to be able to know what to do should they face a situation in which they do not feel comfortable.”

Gemma Darby, NSPCC schools service area-coordinator for Bath, added, “We all want to keep our children safe from harm and one of the best ways to do this is to give youngsters, from a young age, the information and tools to protect themselves. Our interactive and age-sensitive assemblies and follow-up workshops have a huge impact. It is so important for children to have a voice, to know who to speak to, and that they shouldn’t stop speaking out until action is taken.”

To volunteer with the NSPCC schools service, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required. Meanwhile, any adult with concerns about a child can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email email hidden; JavaScript is required. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111.