Get Golfing’s Free School Meals Programme has been running for 3 years now. Set up in 2021 with an aim to reach non-traditional junior golfers and their families who have barriers to participation; whether that be financial, social, or physical challenges. The programme has now delivered close to 4,000 meals this year with the help of Government funded Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF).
HAF, set up in 2018 provides support to children in receipt of free school meals through holiday periods to combat social isolation, inactivity, and access to hot healthy food. Get Golfing uses the reach of these initiatives to engage those families most in need and uses its facilities to provide a safe, stable, and welcoming environment to non-traditional visitors to our golf sites.
The Fun, Food & Golf programme is fully funded by Get Golfing itself and whilst there are competitors offering introductory golf sessions such as England Golf’s ‘This Girl Rocks’ (costing £35) & Love Golf UK, where a PGA pro charges for 4 hours tuition, Get Golfing offers something unique.
Get Golfing’s unique initiative goes one step further by providing a free hot healthy meal to attendees (and breakfast) both in term time through our Monday clubs and more recently through a comprehensive holiday provision (see more below). The Fun, Food and Golf programme also offers an hour of golf tuition from a PGA professional and additional golf and enrichment activities delivered from the experienced community team and supported by Club ambassadors.
During the session students are offered a wide range of enrichment activities and are given specific golf related tasks to overcome in teams and on their own to get them working together and making new friends.
The day begins with a range of enrichment activities to help them acclimatise with the new space and unfamiliar surroundings. This can be as simple as colouring in their own golf ball, to taking a tour of the club. Excitement brews as the children can make friends and begin to engage with staff members, all crucial to their development – all while enjoying a breakfast from a range of nutritious and delicious morning treats. We make sure the children are properly fuelled for a busy day of learning ahead.
After breakfast, it is time for Golf! Our holiday camps offer an hour of tuition from a PGA professional on the range and the putting green, ensuring the golfing basics are covered from tee to green. There’s always time for chats with greenkeepers, gardeners, and chefs as the children’s eyes are opened to the opportunities there are within the game and what it takes to run a golf facility.
Our team of chef’s crafts delicious and nutritious meals, ensuring that every child is well-fed and ready to tackle the afternoon ahead.
We do face the unpredictability of English weather but the sites are well equipped to deal with such issues where we have dedicated indoor space and a wide range of exciting, creative activities on offer to name a few;
In the afternoon, it is time to embrace the unique golfing experience our clubs have to offer in and around the course. Guided by our dedicated team, the children are entertained by a multitude of activities including chats to greenkeepers, gardeners, and most importantly the chance to take to the course for an introduction to the sport. We are proud to say these days are more than just golf and we ensure each child’s eyes are opened to the opportunities there are within the game.
With full bellies and their interest piqued in the game, the children are rewarded with prizes and goodie bags; including clothing and training aids to help ensure their interest for the game remains high outside of the club.
We host a Monday club after school from 4PM during term time and 3 days camps in the holidays.
The Fun, Food & Golf camps held during summer holidays took place at 2 venues this summer with 850 places available through The Holiday Activities and Food Program.
The sites hosting camps are:
Our Monday Clubs currently run at 3 clubs and have seen 80 children attend from local adopted schools:
Our exciting Fun, Food, and Golf sessions are aimed at children whose parents/carers fall below an income threshold and could not afford access to golf.
We continue to have success identifying children on school visits. With the help of staff at the school we’re able to identify those most in need.
This Autumn we visited Marnel Junior School in Popley and saw over 300 children, offering an engaging introduction to golf for the students. The next Get Golfing opportunity for this particular cohort is a visit to Sherfield Oaks Golf Club in neighbouring Basingstoke for some golf and a Christmas meal.
At Get Golfing, our mission is to make a meaningful and long-lasting impact on the communities surrounding our sites. As a self-sufficient charity with a growing commercial arm, we offer stability to these children and can be flexible with our spending. It is this flexibility and the support of each club and staff member that allows us to improve the spaces in the clubhouse and allows to invest in necessary and relevant training. Often, clubs hosting Fun, Food & Golf programmes will give up an entire indoor space to use for the hour or day.
The goal of the programme is to help combat three key social issues facing families, but it does much more:
Over 4000 hot meals have been delivered
More than 500 hours of dedicated coaching provided
And a remarkable 600+ children engaged in 2023 alone!
We introduced over 300 girls into the game just in June this year!
We are committed to making a real impact within our local communities with free golf and free food to those that need it most.
Following the successful rollout of these camps at Mill Green, Redlibbets and Warley Park this summer, we now begin to move into the next phase with a rollout at Sherfield Oaks and Winterhill in 2024. This is a great step as the community team continue to deliver ‘More than just Golf’ to our local communities.
We aim to provide 8000 meals next year alone!
Our new Apprenticeships, Communities and Charities Director, Emma Robinson, is going to help lead our charitable efforts and has this to say –
‘I am so excited to be leading the team in this exciting mission to bring golfing opportunities to more children and use our venues for the good of our local communities. 2024 will be a massive year for Get Golfing to expand its excellent work across the country and deliver more amazing experiences and food to children most in need’