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Weegie Whackers LGBTQ+ tennis club celebrate birthday after bumper first year


Weegie Whackers have come a long way since their formation at a Pride Festival in Glasgow last summer.

Overwhelmed by the numbers who turned out that June day, Stephen Mitchell took a straw poll to find out how many attendees fancied playing regularly, and the long list of names meant he felt compelled to start up a new club.

One year on, the Whackers will celebrate their first birthday on 22 June with a roll call of 65 members of all ages and stages, league teams and burgeoning coaching programmes.

The LGBTQ+ club has proven a welcome addition to the grassroots tennis scene in Scotland and was even nominated for a Tennis Scotland Connecting Communities Award just months after its establishment.

Weekly club sessions take place at the recently revamped Newlands Park Community Tennis Centre, where players of all backgrounds and experiences come together to share their mutual love of tennis in a fully inclusive and welcoming environment.

A recent surge has also seen more women and non-binary players sign up with the Weegie Whackers, further underlining that ‘open to all’ is very much the club’s ethos.

As they approach the anniversary, club chair Stephen explained why the club was formed. He said: “Tennis is generally a very welcoming sport, but LGBTQ+ clubs haven’t really existed, unlike in some other sports. A big part is the community you’re part of and being able to bring your whole self to a sport, being your authentic self and being around people that have had similar life experiences.

“It helps to give people confidence to come along and try something new. Weegie Whackers is fun, relaxed and no-one takes themselves too seriously. It’s about people helping each other to get better at tennis, make new friends and enjoy themselves.”

The club’s growth has been remarkable with an ever-increasing membership and 18 men signed up to compete in local leagues, with high hopes a women’s team will also take part next year.

Weegie Whackers also represented Scotland in the first Pride In Tennis Cup in Nottingham in 2023 and are hoping to repeat the trip later this year. “We had a brilliant time,” said Stephen, who is also a volunteer coach. “Although it was the first experience of competitive tennis for many of the team, everyone got into the spirit and there was a great atmosphere. We won our first match and then came up against some very strong teams, but everyone came away smiling.”

While he is reflecting on the last year, Stephen is also looking to the future and has big plans for the continued growth of the Whackers. “A big thing for the future is helping people on their individual journeys,” he said. “There is high demand in the community to join our sessions, so I want to support members to do their coaching qualifications, run sessions for beginners and build our structure so that the club is sustainable for the future.”

To find out more about Weegie Whackers or get involved, see their Instagram page - @weegiewhackers

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