Blog No.2: Why help us... to help young people this Christmas
American golf scholar, former Ladies European Tour player, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice fundraiser, and now Head of Fundraising for the Golf Foundation, Vanessa Bell shares her excitement about our charity’s new Christmas appeal.
I have, at times, wondered what my life would be like without golf. The game has given me so much: friends, experiences, fun, travel, success (and failure!), education, and a job. It has shaped who I am today and it takes up a lot of my thoughts. I am a golf nut and I love it.
The Golf Foundation is amazing to me because it opens up the door to a huge range of opportunities for anyone willing to give the game a go. Breaking down barriers to offer golf to kids, we make it easier for them to get involved. We are a charity and therefore fundraising is incredibly important to us. The more funds we raise, the larger our reach and the greater our impact. We are lucky to have a number of fantastic core funders who support our work. However, as an innovative charity we should never rely solely on golfing bodies for support but should find new ways of raising income, particularly in these challenging times, which is why your support is so important to us.
Our team is key in getting that first important touch-point. Working with more than 3,500 schools across the country means that we can reach over 125,000 children with coaching from a PGA Professional in schools alone. We offer those opportunities to a whole range of different community groups too. Getting kids to have a go at golf when they would never dream of touching a golf club has opened the door to a whole new world. And from that first touch, we have a fantastic player pathway that welcomes them into the game.
I think it’s important to remember that not every child is a confident player of the mainstream team games – football, rugby, hockey, netball – and golf has the same ability to get them up, out, and active and socialising. I’m sure you will have read about our national programmes (from the junior-friendly golf centres we work with to GolfSixes League), and we gain particular satisfaction from the impact they have on each individual.
Over the short time I have been with the Golf Foundation, I have read many stories about how golf has changed the lives of the young people who have taken part in our programmes. Those who found the confidence to overcome their shyness and shine like the bright young person they are. Those who have overcome health issues and been able to take part in a sport that has given them a place on the playing field. Those who have struggled with mental health and have found a safe environment in which to become stronger. Those who have found a passion for swinging a golf club regardless of their age, gender, ability or background. And through all of the golf balls hit, those who have: gained friends, tried a new experience, had fun, enjoyed travelling to different courses to play, basked in the joy of hitting a great shot and laughed at the failures of the bad ones and, gained valuable life skills that, in turn, benefit them in the classroom. And that is the power of the sport.
We are now ‘live’ with our Christmas fundraising campaign and in the Festive Spirit, I'm hoping golfers will come together and create a community of giving to support us. This campaign has matched funding so every pound that is donated is doubled and we are really hoping to reach our target of £4,500. The money raised is going directly into giving opportunities for youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part in a programme that will introduce them to golf and help ignite some great skills such as confidence, determination, and leadership as well.
I love golf and I'm fairly certain that everyone who plays it does too.
Why not give someone else an opportunity to take up the game we love – you can donate here https://bit.ly/GF_ChristmasChallenge