‘Vi-Ability & ‘Valleys Golf’ Collaborate on Youth Project

Having worked in the local community over the last few years delivering golf coaching sessions on a daily basis, Valleys Golf Enterprise ‘VGE’ have identified that there are lot of young people in the Welsh valleys who are suffering from poor physical and mental health, have low self-esteem & low levels of confidence, are not engaged in any positive activities or are sadly facing financial, drug & alcohol problems. 

Partnership Agreement Signed By: Kelly Davies, Vi-Ability (left); Colin Gardiner, Valleys Golf Enterprise  (Middle) & Michelle Rowson Woods, Coalfields Regeneration Trust (Right)

Partnership Agreement Signed By: Kelly Davies, Vi-Ability (left); Colin Gardiner, Valleys Golf Enterprise  (Middle) & Michelle Rowson Woods, Coalfields Regeneration Trust (Right)

To help combat these issues VGE strongly believe that there is a need for a programme of learning that gives underprivileged young people, aged between 16-25 years, the chance to turn their lives around by unlocking their potential, and helping them to gain essential employability & life skills to enable them to confidentially progress into further education, employment or volunteering. 

Thanks to joint funding received from the Fairwood Trust and Coalfields Regeneration Trust, over the next three months Vi-Ability, the award winning social enterprise, will develop a customised & innovative learning programme to combine sport and education to tackle the issue VGE has identified.

There are many examples of where sport is used to engage the community to support learning. Many learning programmes deliver generic subjects and successfully use sporting examples to help teach participants. However, this programme will go one step further. The learning will take place predominantly on the golf course, with the participants being fully engaged with something they enjoy so that they absorb the educational ‘classroom’ portions of the programme in the same way they would a sport coaching session; therefore aiding their learning and increasing their chances of a successful employment outcome.

Colin Gardiner, Managing Director of VGE said:  “We are absolutely delighted to be commencing work on this exciting project. Providing opportunities for young people to realise their potential, both on and off a golf course, is something we all at VGE are extremely passionate about & it lies at the very core of everything we do here.”

We chose to work alongside Vi-Ability because not only do they share this passion, but also because we wanted to learn from, and be associated with the lead social innovator within the Sport & Educational space.

Vi-Ability has great credibility in developing programmes that are different in the way they engage with individuals who have historically shown poor motivation towards learning & they have a proven track record of working too – helping to develop individuals, communities and sports clubs together in one swing, excuse the pun – which is pretty powerful, especially, when you know that 84% of their programme participants move into employment & the clubs they work become more profitable too!”    

Kelly Davies, Managing Director of Vi-Ability commented: 

“Colin and the team should really be applauded for what they are setting out to achieve over the next few years. 

They have recognised very early on that the world of sport is changing… with reduced budgets, funding cuts, and the expectation that sport clubs will be expected to deliver more for and with less & yet positively contribute to a better society.  

They are proactively responding to these changes, and are trying to shift away from traditional ways of working which brings more of the same or limited return. 

We will be working hard over the next few months to develop VGE a flagship programme that gives them a sustainable income stream; one which is unique to golf that they can champion to policy makers to help demonstrate how sport can be used to address the health & employment agenda and make a positive social impact. 

These outcomes will hopefully encourage further investment and will ensure not only the enterprise’s future survival but it’s further growth”.