Tennis committed to leading on inclusion and diversity with publication of new LTA Inclusion Strategy

20/05/2021

| News

The LTA has today published its new inclusion strategy for tennis in Britain, with an ambition to lead the way on inclusion and diversity in sport.

The national governing body for tennis wants to embed a culture of everyday inclusion within all aspects of the sport, with the ultimate goal being to ensure that people playing, working and volunteering in, and watching tennis reflect the diversity of the nation’s communities. The strategy sets out five key areas of work with 25 commitments to drive change, underpinned by 46 priority actions that will help make the ambition of the strategy a reality.

LTA Inclusion Strategy for tennis in Britain

Download and read the full strategy and executive summary via the links below.

You can also download a plain text version of the strategy.

The commitments include:

  • Making inclusion core to who we are as a National Governing Body.
  • Implementing changes in the LTA’s governance, including appointments of new Board nominated Councillors and two Non-Executive Directors, and increasing the diversity of the LTA’s colleague base.
  • Actively seeking out the views of under-represented groups.
  • Ensuring better championing for and understanding of inclusion at tennis venues.
  • Targeting underrepresented groups through specific programmes, while at the same time ensuring that all of our mainstream provision is as inclusive as possible.
  • Taking targeted actions to improve diversity amongst players, coaches, volunteers, officials and colleagues.
  • Delivering increased and more engaging opportunities to compete, for women and girls in particular, to drive greater frequency of participation and also to help enable more females to be prepared to coach at a higher level.
  • Investing in opening up more venues for long-term, sustainable public access, to reach more diverse participants.

Visually impaired tennis

Tennis has a history of having pioneered the way forward on inclusion and diversity in sport, and has a comparatively high number of players from under-represented groups.  However, to better understand where the sport is now at, the LTA have compiled a detailed analysis of current diversity data across different roles in tennis, with a commitment to collecting, tracking and publishing new data on an annual basis to provide transparency on progress.

WATCH: 'Everyday Inclusion - It's Just Tennis'

To support the publication of the Inclusion strategy, the LTA have produced a video titled ‘Everyday Inclusion – It’s Just Tennis’ featuring contributions from members of the IDEA Group and the wider tennis community, speaking in their own words about inclusion in tennis.

The new inclusion strategy forms part of the LTA’s overall vision to open tennis up that was put in place in 2019 following the appointment of LTA Chief Executive, Scott Lloyd.  It has been developed from a starting point of listening to lived experiences with input from a diverse range of people, including responses to open letters published by Lloyd last year.  The LTA has also consulted leading individuals and organisations with expertise on inclusion and diversity to inform its approach, and has shaped the strategy further by looking at the diversity data it has compiled.

Sanjay Bhandari and Anil Jhingan to join LTA Board

The LTA has also today confirmed the appointment of Sanjay Bhandari and Anil Jhingan to serve as new Non-Executive Directors on the LTA Board. 

As full members of the LTA board, which is chaired by Lord Mervyn Davies, Jhingan and Bhandari will advise, guide, challenge and support the LTA Executive Team in their delivery of key strategic programmes.

The appointments follow the conclusion of an open recruitment process for the roles, and build upon the recent appointment of seven new Board–nominated Councilors to the LTA Council, and the establishment of the LTA’s new IDEA Group (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility), which acts as a forum to listen to and engage with diverse representatives from across tennis.  The new appointments and the creation of the IDEA Group will help to drive forward the implementation of the LTA Inclusion Strategy, and check and challenge the LTA’s work in this area, further demonstrating the LTA’s commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive sport and organisation.

What They Said

 

We want tennis to be a leader in this area, but to make this a reality I encourage every tennis player, coach, official, volunteer, fan and colleague to help us make inclusion something that is just the norm in our sport

Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to this strategy – it’s an important step in our mission to open tennis up and ensure tennis can be played and enjoyed by anyone, no matter their age, background or ability.

“We know that we still have further to go in order to reflect the diversity of the communities we represent through all areas of tennis in Britain, however this strategy will help ensure inclusion is kept at the heart of our sport. We want tennis to be a leader in this area, but to make this a reality I encourage every tennis player, coach, official, volunteer, fan and colleague to help us make inclusion something that is just the norm in our sport.

“As the national governing body it is our role to lead the way in driving change, and we were incredibly pleased to be able to bring in high calibre additions to our Board and Council. The new appointments we have announced today with Sanjay and Anil both bring with them tremendous experience and will help ensure we are well placed to continue our progress.”

We will hold ourselves to account for constant and consistent progress towards our aim of a sport that reflects our communities

Rachel Baillache, LTA Board Inclusion & Diversity Champion, said: “The actions we have put in place as part of our vision of tennis opened up over the past few years are already beginning to impact diversity in our sport positively. But we know there is much more to do, and this strategy sets out how we will go about driving the change that is needed across the whole of tennis. It is about long-term, cultural change, and we will not be satisfied until we have achieved that. We will hold ourselves to account for constant and consistent progress towards our aim of a sport that reflects our communities, and the Board is looking forward to being able to report against this in the coming years”.

LTA SERVES

Tim Hollingsworth – Chief Executive, Sport England, said: "This past year has seen the inequalities that already existed across sport and physical activity widen because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why tackling inequalities is at the heart of our new strategy ‘Uniting the Movement’ and underpins everything we are setting out to achieve in the coming years.

"It is essential that there are programmes across the sport and physical activity sector that seek to drive greater inclusion so that more people from all backgrounds are able to enjoy the benefits that playing sport can bring. The LTA’s new inclusion strategy, as part of its wider vision of ‘Tennis Opened Up’, is a great way to help bring that to life."

Inclusion and diversity is so important, and I love the fact that with this strategy the LTA is taking a lead on this to make it part of tennis in Britain every day

Billie Jean King said: "Inclusion and diversity is so important, and I love the fact that with this strategy the LTA is taking a lead on this to make it part of tennis in Britain every day."

Funke Awoderu, LTA Tennis Development Committee Inclusion Advisory Group Chair, said: “The first step towards inclusion and diversity always needs to be to listen, so it is fantastic that has been the very foundation of the development of this strategy.”

Arun Kang – CEO, Sporting Equals, said: “The LTA's work in taking tennis into local communities is a testament to their commitment to inclusion and diversity and this strategy is a real opportunity not only to build on the positive work they have been doing but also to lead the way.”

Different perspectives will lead to higher engagement, increased creativity and better outcomes for everyone

Yasmin Clarke – LTA Councillor & Master Performance Coach, said: “It’s great to see a focus on driving greater diversity, especially within the workforce. Different perspectives will lead to higher engagement, increased creativity and better outcomes for everyone.”

Frankie Rohan – Visually Impaired Tennis Player/Coach & LTA IDEA Group Member, said: “Tennis has been a brilliant sport for me to get involved in, and the more that can be done to understand diversity in sport, the more others will be able to benefit too.”

James Keothavong – ITF Gold Badge Chair Umpire & LTA Councillor, said: “Tennis can provide so many amazing opportunities, and I really look forward to this strategy helping to open them up to so many more people whatever their background.”

LTA Inclusion Strategy - Find Out More

Schools tennis

The five key areas of work to drive change covered by the LTA Inclusion strategy are as follows, below which sit the 25 commitments and 46 priority actions:

  • Inclusive leadership and governance – role-modelling and driving the right behaviours from the top down and setting expectations for those in leadership roles across the sport; making sure that the systems are in place so that inclusion is always at the heart of everything we do.
  • People empowered to be inclusive – building greater understanding of inclusion and the capability to be inclusive, while at the same time creating the conditions which enable everyone in tennis to feel confident in sharing their own experiences and to challenge non-inclusive behaviour.
  • Tennis looking and feeling Opened Up – the way people perceive tennis matters and is key to people choosing tennis against many competing activities and demands on their time.  Anyone engaging with our sport, in any place or across any medium, should feel like tennis is “for people like me”.
  • Targeted interventions for greater diversity – specific interventions, over and above our focus on inclusion, to drive more rapid changes in diversity where they are most needed.
  • Holding ourselves to account – making sure that we have the data to report openly on our progress and being transparent in order to learn from both our successes and our failures; as well as learning from those organisations and individuals considered to be leading the way on inclusion.

Further details of the commitments and actions can be found in the LTA Inclusion Strategy document, together with an analysis of current diversity data from across the sport. Plain text versions of the strategy and executive summary are available at lta.org.uk/inclusion.

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