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Social change initiative serves up a treat for new tennis players in Scotland

• 7 MINUTE READ

Following a year of tremendous growth in participation across Scotland, leading social change tennis initiative LTA SERVES has been credited with playing a pivotal role in increasing the accessibility of tennis to youngsters from deprived communities in 2021.

Launched earlier this year, LTA SERVES was rolled out across Scotland to encourage young people aged 8-18 to use tennis as a positive vehicle for change in their lives. Aimed at developing new skills and self-confidence, both on and off the court, the programme has placed rackets in the hands of many individuals for the very first time.

Throughout the year, around 350 youngsters have engaged with LTA SERVES at ten separate organisations across Scotland, ranging from North Lanarkshire to Aberdeen. As part of the programme, each of the organisations were granted access to specific Tennis Activator Training which educated community volunteers, enabling them to confidently lead beginners’ tennis sessions.

In addition to ongoing support from Tennis Scotland, the new LTA SERVES organisations also received £500 worth of tennis equipment and access to a range of social impact measuring tools which has boosted the success of operations this year.

One of the first beneficiaries of the initiative was the Russell Anderson Foundation which has been supporting vulnerable children and their families within socially deprived areas of Aberdeen since 2012. Keen to introduce the LTA SERVES project to eight of their partner primary schools where they provide extra-curricular activities, the foundation received invaluable support and training from Tennis Scotland’s Workforce Manager, Anna Myatt. Across a three-hour specific training course, Russell Anderson staff members received practical training activities utilising free LTA SERVES equipment including rackets, balls, nets and cones.

Graeme Burnett, Chief Executive of the Russell Anderson Foundation, commented: “Our goal is for every child to feel positive about their relationship with physical activity and the LTA SERVES programme has played a pivotal role in encouraging many children to consider tennis as an accessible sport which can enhance health and wellbeing throughout their lives.

“Our staff and volunteers are really appreciative of the support provided by Tennis Scotland and aim to continue using their new knowledge and expertise to increase the provision of tennis activities in 2022.”

Tennis Scotland has welcomed Achieve More! Scotland onboard to begin delivering two new LTA SERVES programmes in Glasgow early next year. Alongside support from Achieve More! Scotland and Sported, the governing body aims to continue upscaling the programme throughout 2022 by developing greater partnerships with key delivery partners across the nation.

Community organisations and local authorities that would like to get involved can contact Tennis Scotland’s Participation & Development Manager, Mike Kolacz, via: mike.kolacz@tennisscotland.org