England Golf drives on with sport for all policy

England Golf has re-affirmed its commitment to ensuring the game is fully-inclusive after a new survey indicated a strong desire among disabled people to become more engaged with sport.

The Annual Disability and Activity survey, commissioned by the Activity Alliance and supported by Sport England, has produced findings which show disabled people are keen to increase their levels of sport participation, but many are frustrated with opportunities available.

The survey of more than 2000 respondents published today details that 81% of disabled adults want to get into sport.

Over 70% of those canvassed are looking to improve or maintain their physical health through sport.

However, four in 10 of those questioned feel they are not given the chance to be as active as they would like to be compared to seven in 10 non-disabled people.

England Golf’s Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager, Jamie Blair, is passionate about making sure golf is delivered to as wide an audience as possible.

“We are very much of the opinion that golf is a sport for everyone,” he said.

“It does not surprise me to learn disabled people are highly motivated when it comes to getting into sport or maintaining a link to their preferred activity. That has been our experience too.

“As a governing body committed to being fully inclusive, it is down to us to make sure as many doors as possible are left open.

“This year we have increased the scope of our English Amateur Championship for golfers with a disability.

“For the 2020 edition at Whittlebury Park, competitors are being welcomed from all over the world and not just England.

“There will also be a women’s net event taking place within the championship for the first time in recognition of the demand from competitors.

“At golf club level, we are also working closely with organisations linked to Parkinson’s Disease and the Stroke Association.

“Here we want to make sure golfers are encouraged to keep enjoying some format of the game or a link to their golf clubs even if their health has deteriorated.

“An initiative with the Alzheimer’s Society is also now firmly established.

“We want to make the game dementia friendly for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK.

“We have provided resources for clubs and professionals looking to work with people living with dementia.

“Our Club Support Officer network is working hard up and down the country.

“The CSOs not only make sure anyone with an interest in golf can get access to a facility, but that those who may worry about having to drift away from the game as a result of any form of disability or health condition are encouraged to find new ways to stay engaged.”

Among the key recommendations made by the Activity Alliance report is for sport to challenge perceptions through inclusive communications and for governing bodies to design and lead a choice of accessible activities.

Blair added: “At England Golf  we are always striving to find new ways to include more people in the game.

“We will continue to do this and communicate the message widely so that as many people can get into golf or stay involved with a sport they love.”

For the full survey findings please click here

Photograph credit: Leaderboard