Golf tournament leads the way

Solhiem cup

The Solheim Cup has embraced volunteers and accessibility, with calls for other sporting events to follow suit

12th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Volunteers are set to play their part in a stellar international golf tournament.

The Solheim Cup, which sees the best female players from Europe take on their counterparts from the USA, is underway at Gleneagles.

And Solheim Cup organisers are leading the way for other major sporting events by providing a support pot to ensure volunteers from all backgrounds can enjoy the experience.

The £15,000 fund, managed by Volunteer Scotland on behalf of Solheim, has helped cover expenses for over 100 of the 1,000 volunteers supporting the women’s golf tournament in Perthshire.

George Thomson, chief executive of Volunteer Scotland, said: “The Solheim Cup aims to be the world’s most volunteer inclusive golf major event and we’re working closely with the organisers to support that goal. We’ve distributed £15,000 to volunteers to ensure those on low incomes aren’t excluded from volunteering. We hope other major sports events will follow Solheim’s example, ensuring volunteering is truly for all.”

During the prestigious tournament at Gleneagles, Volunteer Scotland will also tee off a series of eight “bubble talks” about increasing volunteer participation and inclusion.

The line-up includes an event on women volunteering in sport, ACOSVO presenting on inclusion and discussion of the new Volunteering Charter.

Bryan Simpson, from UNITE, will speak at the event. He said: “We welcome the decision by the organisers of the Solheim Cup to create such a substantial fund for volunteers to ensure that this is one of the most inclusive volunteering programmes ever created for a sporting event.

“We are calling for other major sporting events to follow suit and to stop the use of bogus volunteer programmes where volunteers are used to carry out roles that were previously paid in order to make a profit. This is not genuine volunteering and is morally unacceptable.”

The 2019 Solheim Cup will also be the most inclusive edition of the event ever with the introduction of a new autism friendly quiet room, as well as a host of other initiatives.

The tournament will offer disabled spectators who require a carer to assist them one free carer ticket to the event. Specially trained access buddies will also be available to provide specific help to people with limited mobility, sensory impairment, older spectators, people on the autism spectrum and those who just need a little bit of extra help to find their way about.

Free to hire mobility scooters, enhanced accessible toilets, a dedicated blue badge holder car park, viewing platforms for wheelchair users and more will all be provided at the tournament.

Paul Ralph, access and inclusion director at Euan's Guide, said: “We were delighted to be asked to feed into the 2019 Solheim Cup’s accessibility programme.

“For us, this demonstrates an understanding of the importance of co-creating events with disabled people involved in the process.

“We would like to see more events and businesses follow the 2019 Solheim Cup’s example by working with disabled people and making attractions and activities accessible for all.”