A Golf Foundation project in the Shrewbury area has been inspiring disadvantaged foster children through a team-based golf experience. The activity days were labelled “absolutely fantastic” by their foster organisation.
Part of a new national scheme called ‘HSBC Golf Roots Plus’, funding is available for organisations who feel youngsters in their care would benefit from developing life skills through sport.
Some 22 children with complex emotional and behavioural difficulties joined members of the Golf Foundation team and a local PGA professional to play energetic Tri-Golf team games during a recent activity weekend, at PGL Shrewsbury in Boreatton Park.
HSBC Golf Roots is the Golf Foundation’s nationally supported strategy that aims to reach one million youngsters in 2013 in schools, communities and golf clubs. The project provides early technical skills for golf but also offers youngsters from all backgrounds and abilities valuable ‘skills for life’, attributes like concentration, co-operation, perseverance and honesty.
The ‘Plus’ addition to HSBC Golf Roots means that delivery partners such as youth services, local authorities, police services, apprenticeship bodies, or school partnerships can access funding to support young people who would benefit from this kind of sport provision.
In Shrewsbury, the Golf Foundation teamed up with Clifford House Fostering Services in Tri-Golf team games for the children and their foster carers. Group and one-on-one coaching were provided by PGA professional Gareth Snelgrove, and young volunteers helped Foundation Regional Development Officer Jason Sorrell to create a happy and inclusive atmosphere in the Golf Roots style that is proving so popular among boys and girls in schools up and down the country. The golf was supported by other outdoor adventure and team-work activity like ‘zipwire’, raft building and canoeing.
Jason Sorrell said: “This project has been all about giving genuine opportunity to youngsters who would never previously have dreamt about enjoying golf. It was wonderful to see children who had been a little reserved and lacking in confidence at the start, really enjoy themselves and make new friends in the process.
“A major highlight was a session of ‘night golf’, which had the boys and girls running around and having great fun under the stars. We have enjoyed great support from PGA pro Gareth Snelgrove, our young volunteers, the children’s foster carers, and particularly Ian Taylor of Clifford House Fostering Services, who has used great judgement and enthusiasm for what we could achieve in the sessions.”
Ian Taylor, Training and Development Manager at Clifford House Fostering Services, said: “This was an absolutely fantastic project. It really couldn’t have been better for these youngsters. I wanted three things from this: that the youngsters would get to enjoy making friends and communicating with each other, as for many of them this isn’t straightforward; I wanted the children to try things out of their comfort zone and they all really loved the golf and the other activities, and just as importantly I wanted them all to have great fun.
“The feedback we have received from the children has been nothing short of tremendous, really overwhelming. The Golf Foundation team was brilliant. The night golf session was spectacular under the stars and it was actually difficult to get the children off the course at the end. They just wanted to keep playing golf!”
Sarah Tennyson, Marketing Manager for the Golf Foundation, added: “The Golf Foundation is known for reaching a lot of youngsters through golf in schools and communities but we rely on experts like Ian Taylor and Clifford House Fostering Services to guide us as to how we can help.
“The youngsters have clearly thrived this weekend and it was great to see them playing with new friends. A number have already asked for more lessons at the golf club and this is being arranged.
“We would like to thank HSBC for supporting this area of the Golf Roots project and we are considering other potential HSBC Golf Roots Plus regional schemes to back in the near future. We would like to offer a special thank you also to the youngsters themselves, who have really inspired our Golf Foundation team over the last few days.”
The Golf Foundation is aiming to reach one million children per year through its national programme, HSBC Golf Roots. To achieve this, it has a fundraising target of £3 million per year. HSBC Golf Roots is already supported by The R&A, The European Tour, the Professional Golfers’ Association, the Ryder Cup Committee and Trust, the British Golf Industry Association’s ‘Grow Golf’ Fund, Sport England and headline sponsor HSBC, who collectively contribute just under £2 million.
* To learn more about HSBC Golf Roots and the Golf Foundation call 01992 449830 or see www.golf-foundation.org
* For media information on the Golf Foundation, call Ben Evans on 01747 820384 or 07789 722853.