Kneesworth House Hospital patients build their own foot-golf course

PUBLISHED: 14:59 31 August 2020

Patients at mental health facility Kneesworth House Hospital built their own foot-golf course. Picture: Priory Group

Patients at mental health facility Kneesworth House Hospital built their own foot-golf course. Picture: Priory Group

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Patients at Kneesworth House Hospital have built their own foot-golf course, which was officially opened last week.

Patients at mental health facility Kneesworth House Hospital built their own foot-golf course. Picture: Priory GroupPatients at mental health facility Kneesworth House Hospital built their own foot-golf course. Picture: Priory Group

The course has already been a huge success at the mental health facility in Kneesworth’s Old North Road, and was formally opened by The Priory Group’s chief operating officer Warren Irving on Tuesday.

Staff at the hospital say that not only will the course provide great exercise and opportunities to socialise, but it will enable patients to ‘network’ within the sport when they leave.

There are also plans to host patients from other sites run by Priory to play and enjoy barbecues at the grounds in the future.

Director of clinical services Laura Herdman, who led the project with facilities and estates manager Peter Galasso, said “patients and staff can build therapeutic relationships while completing a fun sport activity”.

Patients at mental health facility Kneesworth House Hospital built their own foot-golf course. Picture: Priory GroupPatients at mental health facility Kneesworth House Hospital built their own foot-golf course. Picture: Priory Group

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Foot-golf is a combination of football and golf – instead of using clubs and a golf ball, players use their feet and a football. The winner is the one who completes the course of either nine or 18 holes in the fewest shots.

“We considered lots of options, but as foot-golf seemed to be a new, up-and-coming sport, we decided Kneesworth House needed its own course,” said Laura. “It was so exciting to have staff and patients working on this project together.”

She said that patients had been “very engaged in the process” and that the course aims to promote the importance of physical activity in their lives.

Peter said: “It is quicker to play than traditional golf, a round taking about two hours compared to golf’s four and a half. It is also more accessible, as it does not require the expensive clubs or indeed high level of technical ability you need for traditional golf. This means the new course could offer something to a wide range of our service users.”

The construction of the course took about six weeks “from concept to completion”, but the main work was finished in just three days by the service users themselves. The work included the production of personalised start and finish signs, as well as the foot-golf hole inserts.

Kneesworth Hospital provides a pathway of mental health services, including acute, psychiatric intensive care and rehabilitation wards.


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