JustDifferent FootGolf Day is charity's first big fundraising event

West Sussex charity JustDifferent is looking foward to its first big fundraising event.

Footgolf is a relatively new sport and lots of fun
Footgolf is a relatively new sport and lots of fun

Footgolf on a nine-hole course is planned, followed by a pizza buffet, silent auction and raffle.

As the Walberton-based charity heads towards its tenth anniversary, the team behind it is looking to build on its achievements in breaking down barriers between disabled and non-disabled people.

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Chief executive Toby Hewson said: “Join us for a round of golf with a difference.

Toby Hewson, founder of JustDifferent. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks16000836-1

“All proceeds from this event will help fund more disability and difference workshops in schools.

“We are excited about it and I am excited to see it.”

A number of teams are already signed up for the event on Friday, September 30, at Chichester Golf Club in Hunston and businesses are sponsoring some of the holes, with Turner and Townsend, a construction and project management consultancy, as the event’s overall sponsor.

Sarah Robinson, JustDifferent bookings and community administrator, said: “It is golf with a difference, as we are about difference. We are hoping to make it an annual event.

“It is really good fun. The ladies from the office did a trial and it is hilarious. You play with a football on a nine-hole, par three course.

“Unfortunately, we are not allowed wheelchairs on the course but Toby will be able to go down to see the start.

“Everyone is welcome afterwards, though, for the food, silent auction and raffle at the golf club and people who don’t want to do the golf can come for the food.”

The footgolf will start at 4pm, with the first tee off at 4.30pm and last tee off at 5.30pm.

Teams of four players, aged over 14, can enter for £100 per team, to include tea and coffee on arrival, plus the pizza buffet with one alcoholic or soft drink.

Non-playing guests can pay £10 per person for the buffet and one drink.

There will be a trophy for the winning team and wooden spoon for the losers.

Hole sponsorship is available at £100 per hole. The company logo will be displayed at the relevant hole and on the score card, as well as on social media and the charity website.

There are already more than £1,000 worth of raffle prizes to be won but more are welcomed.

Karen McLachlan, JustDifferent fundraising and operations manager, said: “It is not just about raising money, it is about raising awareness of what we do.

“Most of our funding comes from trusts and foundations and we need to grow as we approach our tenth anniversary.”

Contact JustDifferent by email to [email protected] or telephone 01243 778275 to book.

Toby, a young man with cerebral palsy, founded the charity in 2008 to promote social inclusion, equality and diversity.

The 35-year-old is a great inspirational speaker and presents workshop sessions at schools across the county.

“My colleagues and I visit schools and universities with the aim of introducing children to disability,” he explained

“We tell real-life stories and allow the children to use a manual wheelchair and tools that assist us.

“Any concerns the children may have are quickly forgotten. We encourage question and answer sessions and by the time we leave, the children understand more about disabled people.”

Toby is often likened to Stephen Hawking, as he uses a speech synthesizer attached to his wheelchair. His most recent model, which he received ten weeks ago, allows him to control the electronic keyboard with his eyes.

The charity’s chief executive, Toby and his team of presenters have been delivering workshops over the last eight years, covering the area from London down through West Sussex .

“I go anywhere,” said Toby.

Karen McLachlan, fundraising and operations manager, said some children are a bit scared when they first see Toby and do not know how to approach him.

“By the time it has finished, all those fears are gone and that is what we are about.

“It is difficult to get across the impact Toby has when he goes into a class.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover – people are just the same. There is a perception that because people are in a wheelchair or look a bit different, they can’t contribute, so it is about changing people’s ideas.”

Toby added: “I love to watch children’s faces changing.”

The charity has also been able to help people with disabilities to work and pays its presenters.

Karen explained: “A lot of the team have never worked before they came to us. We have given them confidence, motivation and skills to enable them to go into the wider workforce. Some of them are severely disabled.

“We have a team of three presenters and we are hoping to get seven more this year, around Christmas.

“We want to branch out into other areas, including learning difficulties, but we need the right support in house before we venture down that road.”

JustDifferent has its offices in The William Booker Yard in The Street, Walberton. Visit www.justdifferent.org

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