Make golf more inclusive, says inner city charity

NigelNews, Press Release


The award-winning social mobility charity Urban Synergy has declared its support for golf as a sport for young people but believes it could do more to attract them.

“When we announced our Golf Day fundraiser last year, some supporters questioned whether the sport was diverse enough for us,” says Urban Synergy’s CEO and Founder Leila Thomas.

The Golf Day sees some 10 young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds play on the fairway with business executives from some of the UK’s largest companies.

“Last year, our young people secured valuable new contacts and opportunities while networking with Urban Synergy’s corporate partners.”

Leila Thomas, CEO Urban Synergy seated

Leila Thomas (pictured) added that golf is a unique way to:

  • Network, team build, and enjoy nature and fresh air
  • Help young people learn about traditional business networking - as well as golf
  • Introduce a fascinating sport

Founded in 2007, Urban Synergy has supported some 27,000 young people to reach their full potential, introducing them to relatable role models, and giving them access to mentors and preparation for further education, work, internships, and apprenticeships.

According to research carried out by the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) and IPSOS, only 4% of on-course golfers are from ethnic minority backgrounds, despite making up 13% of the British population.

“While golf can be expensive, our programmes help young people overcome barriers connecting to well paying work opportunities, often in Britain’s financial sector,” says Leila Thomas. “We’ve achieved this with thousands of bright individuals, and we intend to do more.”

Of course they can

In 2008, Urban Synergy worked with four boys aged 14 years of age that were part of the government's London Challenge Programme - Gavin, Kofi, Chad, and TJ.

“Their teachers said they were smart but at risk of under achievement and exclusion,” says Leila Thomas. “My charity introduced them to relatable role models, found them mentors and work experiences to help them learn and find work. Fast forward to today as they approach their 30th birthdays. All of them have graduated from university.

“Gavin is an SEO manager at CMC Markets; Kofi is vice-president at HSBC Innovation Banking, Chad is a sound Fx editor/sound designer, and TJ is relationship manager (financial markets) at Transaction Network Services.

“These are the sort of people that golf courses might be missing out on if they fail to diversify. It’s time for golf to do more to appeal to people of all backgrounds, and earlier, too.” This short video shows the journey of four boys with the charity.

Urban Synergy’s Golf Day 2024 is at The Shire London, Barnet, North London on 16th May 2024.

Boxer John Conteh

Boxing legend John Conteh (pictured) will be captaining a team, for Falco Construction Limited, alongside players drawn from the London Stock Exchange Group, FTI Consulting, UK Power Networks, Willis Tower Watson and SQS.

Notes to Editors

If you would like to send a journalist or crew to the event on Thursday 16th May, or interview Urban Synergy CEO & Founder Leila Thomas, or anyone mentioned above, please contact [email protected] or call 00447711331127.

Black British Golfers will also be represented on the day and available for interview.

About Urban Synergy

Urban Synergy is a charity founded in 2007 that has helped more than 27,000 young people in the UK get into work and higher education through mentoring.

We inspire, guide and ignite the ambitions of students and young people aged 9-24 years of age, introducing them to relatable models in their schools.

We connect them to outstanding mentors and industry-leading companies that will help them see how their skills fit into the workplace, gain confidence, and access opportunities, as they take their first steps to career success.

PGA/IPSOS research. Read the full report here. Summary details:

About The Shire

The north London golf club designed by the late Seve Ballesteros believes in removing golf’s traditional barriers wherever possible.

We have no clubhouse dress-code, and its status as the home of The Golf Trust charity often creates opportunities for The Shire to host golf events which show the sport at its most inclusive.