The first place prize of £1000 towards the project was presented by HRH The Earl of Wessex on Tuesday, May 4 at St, Pauls hotel, London.
‘Golf Volunteerz’ is a student based volunteer team and was initially founded by three University of Birmingham students and has since expanded to a team of 16, with a majority studying Applied Golf Management Studies.
The aim of the project is to encourage golf participation, whilst providing a structured system to support student volunteers to access golf opportunities in the local community and at local, regional and national events.
‘Golf Volunteerz’ coach young children in schools within the Birmingham area using Tri-Golf and Xtreme-Golf equipment with children aged between 8-15 years old. The focus of these sessions is not only to develop golfing ability, but also life skills such as team work, communication, confidence, problem solving and motivation.
Coaches work hard to deliver these golf tuition sessions, both indoors and outdoors, in a fun and safe way, and have achieved consistent and growing participation amongst all levels. Without this project, children of these schools would have no opportunity to experience golf.
Zena Wooldridge, Director of Sport, is particularly proud of the students’ achievement, ‘Sport is one of the best routes for the University to strengthen its links with local schools and communities. This is a classic example of how the Birmingham community is benefiting from the expertise and commitment of our students.’
She continued, ‘Most of the volunteers are students on the University’s Applied Golf Management degree, a programme with a global reputation having local impact on the skills, motivation and aspirations of local children. I know how excited the ‘Golf Volunteerz’ are about winning this award, which reflects how important the project is to them. Congratulations.’
The club have an events team and are currently working with the Golf Foundation, English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA), English Golf Union, Warwickshire and Worcestershire County Partnerships and many disability organisations and clubs in the Birmingham area.
These links allow ‘Golf Volunteerz’ to become involved in a variety of activities and events from promoting women’s golf to coaching disabled children.
With the prize, the golf team plan to expand the project to recruit additional University of Birmingham students and hope to set up golf events around the Birmingham area for the general public.
They and become part of a national structure, with Birmingham as the core volunteer team, so all regions will have a team of golf volunteers promoting golf in schools and their local areas.
Philip Beard, Volunteer Manager for the England Golf Partnership, said of the student volunteers success, ‘The University of Birmingham Volunteer project is a perfect example of how young people can make a difference, not only to increasing participation, but to changing the attitudes and perceptions about what young people are capable of achieving.’
He continued, ‘The students have put in a huge amount of work into this programme and we look forward to sustaining a long relationship with the university to ensure all activities continue to improve and support the game. England Golf Partnership is planning to replicate this model of student volunteering around England to help the development of the game into the future.’