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Welshpool are first Welsh club to claim award

31st January 2013
Frankie Jones with Junior British Disability trophy

Welshpool have become the first Welsh golf club to claim a top award that recognises their inclusivity, which has also had a positive impact on all areas of the golf club.

The Insport Ribbon Award from Disability Sport Wales recognised the commitment for providing opportunities for disabled people at the club which has produced a British Disabled champion in Frankie Jones.

While the changes made to the course and the facilities have also made a great difference right across the club, particularly in encouraging senior members.

Welshpool junior organiser Ellen Jones, the mother of Frankie and one of the key drivers behind the changes, was delighted the club had been recognised.

“We are really pleased to get this award and especially to be the first golf club in Wales to receive it,” she said.

“On the face of it Welshpool is one of the most inaccessible clubs on the top of a mountain, so if we can do it then any club in Wales can also reap the rewards.

“It is just about providing opportunities for people to play golf, when the Equality Act came out it made the committee sit up and think about changes that we needed to make around the course.

“We also have an amputee playing and doing really well, deaf, people with autism, so it is all about making the game as available as possible for everyone.

“We have fences round the greens because of the sheep so we have added gates, we have improved the buggy paths and added more buggies as well as other facilities, all of which has also made a big difference to the senior section.

“Both my boys play at the club and it has made them feel so welcome, I have never really seen it as a provision for the disabled but as something to make the club inclusive. It was not until we made the changes that we thought of the wider benefits.”

The policy is also bringing success to Welshpool in terms of the competition results at national level.

 

Welshpool club officials having picked up the Golf Union of Wales club of the year for 2012, Ellen Jones is in the middle holding the award in front of her

Frankie Jones, who has cerebral palsy, is the British champion, while brother Ben finished sixth, but they are not the only golfers with disability to come through the club.

“Our amputee would never have thought about playing golf but because of the work we do in schools he thought of giving it a go, after all – what is holding you back?” asked Jones.

“I have been to the British Disabled Championships for the last two years , there are people with thalidomide, or one arm, playing golf and the standard is incredible.

“Frankie has been the champion for the last two years. The first one he won was on the last green, but last year he won by seven shots at the East Sussex course near Eastbourne.”

Welshpool are now aiming to get British recognition for their work as they move onto the next stage.

With golf becoming part of the Olympics at Rio in 2016, there are also plans that golf could be included in the Paralympics in 2020 and beyond, so the work being done in Welshpool could see some of their golfers ending up on the world stage.







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