England Golf has welcomed a new charter which aims to grow the number of active disabled people.
The Charter for Change, from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), outlines the key changes needed to ensure many more disabled people can reap the benefits of being active for life.
Jamie Blair, the England Golf Disability Manager, said: “We believe that this framework emphasises the approach we are already taking with golf clubs. We are engaging with disabled people, finding out what they want and including them within golfing activity at clubs and facilities.”
England Golf is currently working with 17 counties, identifying three clubs in each which offer a high quality experience of golf for disabled people wanting to take part.
“We are encouraging these clubs to talk to disabled participants and find out what they want from our sport – whether it’s range based-activity or support to become a championship golfer,” said Jamie Blair.
Examples of club activities include:
Padbrook Park, in Devon, ran a taster session for the Exeter Deaf Academy before Christmas and now sessions are being organised at the club. PGA professional Stuart Disney is completing an Effective Communications Course so that he can provide a better experience and integrate students into the club’s existing junior programmes.
The School of Golf at Little Channels, Essex, worked with the City of Chelmsford Mencap group to set up a Discover Golf project. Students visited the club for taster sessions and eight of them took part in a five-week structured coaching course which concluding by playing on the course. Club members support the sessions and new beginner sessions are being set up to continue the relationship.
Leamington and County, Warwickshire, has a wide network of connections to local special educational needs schools and hearing impairment units. Professional Paul Aitkens is also BSL Level 2 qualified and uses these skills in all his coaching, disabled or non-disabled. Victoria School pupils are regularly involved in golf, enjoying the fun of the game and all being able to participate together.
Hatchford Brook, Warwickshire, hosted a golf festival for local special educational needs schools run by students taking Applied Golf Management Studies at Birmingham University. The club have since offered coaching sessions to three of the six schools and continue to support events, such as Wheelpower Primary Sports Camps, ensuring that there are continuing opportunities to learn at Hatchford Brook.
Boringdon Park, Devon, is connected to the Plymouth Deaf Children’s Society and is planning a family day for May. It is seen as a perfect opportunity for parents to be involved in activity with their children as well as offering the opportunity for all of the family to be involved in golf.
England Golf’s county network will support the MIND “Get Set to Go” project which aims to get 74,000 people with mental health wellbeing issues active in sport. County Development Officers will work with local MIND Sports Coordinators to offer golf as part of a multi sports club and to create Get into Golf opportunities in their area.
The EFDS Charter for Change asks that:
• Everyone involved in providing sport or physical activity will support disabled people to participate.
• Disabled people will have the same opportunity as non-disabled people to be active throughout their lives.
• All communications about sport and physical activity will promote positive public attitudes towards disabled people’s participation.
Golf clubs can access resources and examples of best practice through the England Golf website.