How golf is helping to rebuild lives

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 The Preston CSI group are enjoying a relaxed approach to their golf sessions! Organisers Phil Wright (left) and Gwen Hughes (right) join in the fun.

A PROJECT aimed at helping people to rebuild their lives in Lancashire is using golf as one of its driving forces. The Challenge Through Sport Initiative is designed to support those on the road to recovery after alcohol or drugs issues by encouraging them to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle.

The scheme’s five steps to well-being develop confidence and self-esteem and are also designed to help people with mental health issues.

Organisers have teamed up with Preston Golf Club Driving Range and academy to provide friendly, relaxed weekly golf sessions led by the club’s head PGA professional Andrew Greenbank.

With support from the Lancashire Golf Development Group, development officer Adam McAlister has been working alongside Lancashire Sport Partnership’s Jane Moodie (Project Lead), and Phil Wright and Gwen Hughes (Support Workers for Preston) to support the CSI programme.

McAlister said: “The health benefits of golf are well documented – not just in the physical gains to be enjoyed but also in mental well-being, as well as making new friends and enjoying a new challenge.

“CSI is a fantastic project aimed at helping people in recovery and those with mental health issues. The work of Andrew and his team at Preston in providing these fun sessions could see some of those taking part go on to enjoy more formal golf coaching and, possibly, a lifetime interest in a sport that will provide them with an active lifestyle and great social life, too.”

Preston support worker Wright said: “In recovery myself, the project and its activities have played an important part in my overall mental wellbeing.

“It is great to see people engaging in the project and reaping the benefits such as building confidence, having a structured week, mixing with like-minded people and building friendships.

“Participants are given the opportunity to try new activities and develop lifelong interests, as well as being given various opportunities to volunteer with Lancashire Sport.”

CSI has been developed by Lancashire Sports Partnership and supported by Sport England with an award of £500,000 from the National Lottery as part of their Get Healthy, Get Active funding.

Partnership working has been key to its success with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Public Health Lancashire and Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation Company providing additional funding.

The project throughout its development has had tremendous support from Recovery Agencies in both Lancashire and GMW. CSI aims to set up a successful programme for those in recovery, which could be replicated across the country.

Alongside the golf project, CSI runs regular weekly activities including climbing, swimming, badminton and boxing, all of which are completely free.

Further details of the CSI programme can be obtained from Phil Wright (07733 163150) or Gwen Hughes (07733 163149).

Get into golf opportunities include FREE taster sessions and low-cost beginner courses with PGA professionals. They are a fun and sociable way to start golf – and a great way to make new friends.

To find your nearest centre visit getintogolf.org and look at the activity map or call 0800 118 2766

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