A Member of Parliament has praised Lincoln Golf Centre in the House of Commons for its incredible work in using golf to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney brought up the club during a parliamentary discussion on the social and economic value of the sport.
Last November Lincoln GC became the UK’s first ‘dementia friendly golf club’ when, following work with the Alzheimer’s Society, it began using golf to tailor a physical, mental and social stimulation service to each dementia client.
A mental health expert called the service ‘marvellous’ and feedback from clients has been positive.
“Golf adds such value to our economy, to employment, to our environment and to our public health,” said McCartney.
“The aim is to change the perception of golf. Some great work has been done by England Golf and all four home unions have specific projects in inner city areas, including the national Get Into Golf campaign and help for those with disabilities to take part in the sport.
“Lincoln Golf Centre recently launched a project to help people with dementia to play and continue to play golf, which is happily hosted by [Lincoln GC owner] Brian Logan and supported by Anthony Blackburn, founder of Golf In Society [an organisation that aims to make a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of local communities through golf]. Before Easter I was invited to meet players and their families, friends and carers, some of whom enjoyed a morning of respite while their husbands, wives, friends or partners enjoyed some golf.”
Anthony Blackburn said: “To witness the positive impact we’ve had on people’s lives has been the most rewarding part of the venture.
“Dementia touches each person differently, that’s why you can’t just take a generic approach when designing a dementia service, it’s crucial to be able to personalise the delivery and content.
“The relaxed and enjoyable sessions, delivered in beautiful natural surroundings by compassionate people, is proving to be a winning formula.”
He quoted the wife of one client, Nicholas, who played a round at the golf centre: “He was thrilled and I’m printing off some of the pictures to put in a memory book of recent events for him. Nicholas has remembered the event this morning and he’ll be keeping hold of the golf ball you gave him to help remind him of the day.”
Brian Logan said: “We are so proud to be part of this initiative. If we can help local people less fortunate than ourselves to discover a better life through golf, then it’s got to be good for everyone in the Lincoln area.”
Danny Walsh, senior lecturer (mental health nursing) at Lincoln University said: “This is a marvellous initiative which is likely to make a significant and very positive impact upon the lives of those people living with dementia and their carers who take part in it.”
Jamie Blair, England Golf’s disability manager, said: “We can establish more clubs within the county to ensure we keep people playing golf as part of a healthy and active lifestyle for those diagnosed with dementia.”