Enmore Park Golf Club prides itself on being a hub of inclusivity and charitable support. Last year, the club’s selected Lady Captain, Jackie Woodman, took a profound step towards addressing the critical issue of mental health and suicide prevention among young people. Inspired by her personal experiences and driven by a desire to make a difference, Jackie selected PAPYRUS as the club’s chosen charity for the year 2022-2023.
As a former secondary school counsellor, Jackie has witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of mental health and suicidal thoughts among young people. During her 17 years in the profession, Jackie regularly supported young people who struggled with their mental wellbeing, often related to the pressures many young people face today, such as social media, societal expectations, and body image.
“I was able to see the changes over time on how young people were struggling,” Jackie shares. “When I started counselling in 2004, my role was mainly dealing with issues such as bullying, relationship and friendship issues. If I think back to how that escalated, by the time I left the role, my priorities had changed to focus on safeguarding, working with abuse, suicidal thoughts and LGBTQIA+ problems. There was a massive change in the problems young people were facing.”
Tragically, Jackie also experienced loss through suicide, after one young person who had previously sought support later took their own life. This profound loss deepened Jackie’s resolve to raise awareness about suicide prevention in her community.
“Going into the lady captaincy, the chosen charity was one of the biggest decisions for me. I knew it was going to be something around mental health because of the job I was in working with 11- to 18-year-olds around mental health. I started looking for a charity in 2021, and it meant a lot to me that I chose the right one.”
Determined to find a charity that aligned with her aspirations and personal passions, Jackie met with various charities and extensively researched local causes. It was during a chance encounter when she caught a news segment about the ‘3 Dads Walking’ Jackie’s path intersected with PAPYRUS.
“I saw the 3 Dads Walking when I was looking for my charity on the BBC and I just knew. I said to myself ‘that’s it’, I just had to find out a bit more,” Jackie says.
“PAPYRUS immediately resonated with me, mostly because of my work and the young girl I had worked with who had taken her life. I knew how deeply suicide affected people and how difficult the issue was. I arranged to meet with one of the women who worked at PAPYRUS, and I made the decision right there that it would be my charity.”
As the club’s chosen charity, over the last year Jackie organised a series of events, including a coffee morning, a golf inspired fashion show and a charity day where every attendee dressed in PAPYRUS’s brand colours. Through various fundraisers and open conversations, Jackie set out to foster a supportive environment while eradicating the stigma surrounding suicide.
Enmore Park Golf Club primarily comprises members over the age of 55, making it all the more essential for Jackie to open up the conversation about suicide awareness and the alarming statistics surrounding young people. Jackie believed that by fostering dialogue and understanding among older adults, they can play a pivotal role in supporting and safeguarding young lives.
“I think it’s important for clubs and other organisations to partner with charities such as PAPYRUS because I think we don’t know enough about suicide and these issues outside of schools or the charities themselves. I think we hear about these things, especially as older people, but we don’t really understand how big a problem it is; how difficult it is for young people today to cope with life.
“Sometimes as an older generation we can forget that life was different back then. Social media is a huge factor for young people today, it’s something I used to deal with a lot, and it contributed to most of the work I did. We need to spread the word about all the things that are put in front of young people today and the pressures they face, and we need to get people to understand more what they’re facing and give them our support”.
Since introducing many of the club’s members to PAPYRUS for the first-time last year, Jackie says the cause has been “well received”, with suicide becoming a much more open conversation among the club’s members. Many people over the last year have approached Jackie to talk about their own experiences with loved ones in their life, while others have taken note of the HOPELINE247 details to pass around in their personal circles.
Jackie adds, “Looking at the response I had from the group last year, people were really keen to know more and learn more about it. They couldn’t believe suicide was the biggest killer of people under the age of 35.
“People started relating the topic to people they knew and started thinking about how this could affect their friends and family. The number of ladies that come up to me through my year and asked me for the number of PAPYRUS again because somewhere in their life they knew someone who needed the support. By choosing PAPYRUS, it opened up so much awareness within the club. It was truly amazing.”
Together, Jackie and Enmore Park Golf Club have shone a light on the critical issue of young suicide prevention, fostering a community that embraces support, understanding, and compassion. Many members now feel more confident in approaching the subject of suicide, and as a club, they are much more aware about the reality of suicide among young people in the UK.
Jackie adds, “It doesn’t matter how clever you are, your background or personal circumstances, we can all struggle. That’s why it’s important to spread awareness of PAPYRUS and get people talking. However difficult it might be, we’ve still got to talk about it and make people realise the importance of talking about it.”
Jackie would like to thank the members of Enmore Park Golf Club and in particular all the ladies within the section who have generously donated money towards her chosen charity.
“The name of PAPYRUS is embedded in the club now, and it wasn’t before. I know there are ladies that will be asking me to remind them of the HOPELINE247 number in years to come, which I’m glad about.”
A massive thank you to Jackie and Enmore Park who have raised an incredible sum of over £4,800 for PAPYRUS across the year.
Interested in fundraising for PAPYRUS? Your support helps us to keep our services running, offering a lifeline to young people at risk of suicide and creating suicide-safer communities across the UK. To find out how your business/club can get involved, gin touch with our fundraising team via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also download our 2023 Fundraising Toolkit, here.