It’s always great to give a personal point of view, so as the main activator for this project in West Surrey, I wanted to share the impact I see every day that our golf sessions are having on our 60+ participants throughout our various sites.
The Wisley Foundation granted us funding in 2018 which enabled us to run our sessions across 8 sites within Surrey. Across the year we ran over 200 sessions, delivered 3 events, engaging 180 participants including many with dementia (68% aged 75-89 and 15% aged over 90) who competed in our weekly 1-hour golf sessions. 65% of our participants were female and amazingly, 73% had never played golf before!
I’m delighted that this year they’ve chosen to support 6 of our 60+ sites within our Active Communities project throughout 2019. Despite a remarkable improvement in their putting and chipping skills, the most amazing part of witnessing the sessions is the overall mood and clear enjoyment of the participants, whether they are seasoned golf pros or only recently picked up a club for the first time. The sessions are competitive, with banter, laughter, tea and coffee flowing throughout the hour and beyond. Participants are often sat chatting while I am setting up the equipment, commenting on the game for the week, telling stories about their youth and family and sharing their top TV pics, which is great to see considering they have only really known each other for a year or so.
It was great to meet Julian (Chair of Wisley Foundation) again at the Wisley Golf Club recently and sit down with him over a cup of tea to discuss the success of the past year we’ve had, especially after inviting him to join a 60+ event we ran at Topgolf for one of our specialist dementia groups. He could see the work we get up to first hand.
I just wanted to say a massive a thank you to the Wisley Foundation for the extended opportunity to continue our golf sessions across Surrey and allowing me to continue doing the work I love with a great bunch of people.
Gilly Thomas (CG Team, West Surrey)