Old driving offences stopped me helping disadvantaged kids

David’s story

I’m a golf professional helping disadvantaged children access the sport. But recently, I was kicked off a long-term project because of driving offences from almost 30 years ago.

In the 90s I was sent to prison for driving without a tax disc and insurance. It sounds unbelievable now that everything’s digital, but it was common then. 

After serving my time, I got a degree and qualified as a golf professional and coach. I’ve helped hundreds of kids learn and play the game. As I progressed I started working more with children from disadvantaged backgrounds as I saw similarities to my own struggles. I even set up a golf scholarship scheme with Bernard Gallacher OBE.

My work with kids has always required detailed criminal record checks, and my old driving offences have never been an issue. Until now.

I was recently asked to work with a school in Northampton to develop a golf programme. I was thrilled to be involved, and started working on a programme to train the teachers so that kids could learn for free at their own school. As usual, I was asked to do an enhanced criminal record check. But this time, when I handed it over to the safeguarding team, I was asked to leave the school site.

A week later, the head teacher called to ask about the offences that led to my conviction. I said honestly that I couldn’t remember the exact details off the top of my head as it all happened almost 30 years ago. About an hour later I got an email saying thank you for all your help but we can’t continue to work together anymore. That was that. 

I was shocked and absolutely hurt. I’ve dedicated my life to helping children access sport, and now I’m being punished for something I did decades ago. This is wrong.

People like me should be allowed to move on and contribute our skills to society without old mistakes holding us back. That’s why I’m joining the campaign to change criminal records. I’m asking you to join me. 

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