This golf club has delivered £500,000 of benefits to deprived children at a local school

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 14, 2016 11:53

An extraordinary partnership between Shropshire GC and a local school in a deprived area has delivered more than £500,000 of benefits for children and massively reduced truancy.

tracey crouch

“The Shropshire Golf Club has shown incredible commitment to sport.”

Shropshire Golf Centre set up a ‘satellite golf club’ at Sutherland School, after the school’s behaviour manager, Brian Lacroix, identified golf as an after-school activity that could help with pupils’ discipline.

The golf club, with funding from Energize Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, which also provided a business plan, sent its PGA professional, Mark Shervill, to the school, where he took classes featuring short and long game practice, distance control plus balance and agility, with an average of 22 pupils per session.

Students were recruited if they had low self-esteem, behaviour problems or if they were on a behaviour contract with the police. Some participants also had physical and intellectual disabilities, spoke little English and / or came from low income families.

In the first six months that the project took place, calculations using a body of research regarding what works in sport development and represents the amount of behaviour change, valued the project at £590,030. This was for a total delivery cost of £1,420.

According to data from Sportsworks Tool, the highest social cost saving was over £160,000 in relation to wellbeing, which is linked to improved psychological health and reduced rates of teenage pregnancy. A saving of over £140,000 was also created in relation to substance misuse.

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The project even concluded that the likelihood of participants truanting had halved after six months.

Brian Lacroix said: “Since the start of this we have noticed a real shift in the attitude of individuals who have participated in the satellite club in school, attendance at school has improved and negative behaviour has decreased.

“We have seen young people with very low self-esteem transform thanks to support and encouragement offered through this satellite club. Helping young people not only get to grip with golf on the course, there was also marked improvement in their self-discipline, empowering many of them to re-engage at school and succeed.”

Most of the students continued with golf after the six months were completed.

As a result of the work, ‘Shropshire Golf Satellite Club’ received a national accolade at Sport England’s recent ‘Satellite Club Awards’.

Mark Shervill said: “Delivering this satellite club has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my 15 years as a professional golf coach.

“Having the opportunity to work with some of the students from Sutherland School that would not ordinarily get a chance to play golf has been incredible.

“The progress the students have made, and the enthusiasm many students have shown in turning up for extra practice, shows just how amazing satellite clubs are for these young people and makes me a very proud coach.”

Development manager Joe Lockley added: “The Shropshire’s satellite club shows that sport can be used to shift behaviour, and that – given the opportunity – everyone can help find themselves through the power of sport. We are firm believers that sport can be used as a vehicle for change, and that there is a sport for everyone.”

Sport England’s director for community sport, Mike Diaper, added: “The Shropshire Golf Satellite Club is a glowing testament to the power of sport. Enabling students to learn new skills and generate a new found confidence that comes with mastering a challenge. I hope the recognition they have received will not only encourage the club to continue its amazing work, but also incentivise all the participants to continue with their golf.”

Minister for sport and tourism, Tracey Crouch MP, said: “The Shropshire Golf Club has shown incredible commitment to sport. I am thrilled that this community organisation has been recognised for its brilliant achievements.”

The partnership took place in early 2015. Later that year the school closed and earlier this year plans were approved to convert the land into housing.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 14, 2016 11:53
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