BEDSAs shortlist recognises LTA SERVES tennis sites for engaging BAME communities
• 4 MINUTE READ
Three community organisations involved in the LTA’s SERVES programme have been recognised for their work in engaging BAME communities in tennis by being shortlisted for the 2020 British Ethnic Diversity Sport Awards (BEDSAs).
The three shortlisted projects have all been identified as outstanding examples of how the SERVES project is helping to open up tennis by engaging young people who had not picked up a racket before and didn’t think of tennis as a sport for them.
Representatives from each of Manchester’s Khizra Masjid & Communities for All, London’s Pro Touch SA, and Sunderland’s Young Asian Voices will be in attendance at the BEDSA’s awards night on Saturday 14 March on Park Lane, London. The winner is being decided by a public vote, and will join event host Sir Lenny Henry on stage to collect their trophy in front of a star-studded audience.
Created by Sporting Equals, the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards recognise and celebrate the contributions made by black and minority ethnic communities to sport. The event has become a key date in the sporting calendar, and aims to help increase sports participation by BAME communities and inspire the next generation of sporting talent. The LTA is a supporter of the awards, along with the likes of Sport England, UK Sport and Sky Media.
SERVES is the LTA’s leading sport for development programme that takes tennis to places it has never been played before, with venues now delivering the programme in communities across the country. The project works with a range of organisations, including Sporting Equals, to take tennis out of its traditional areas and right to the heart of some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country, with people from those communities recruited and trained to help deliver sessions as SERVES Activators.
Over 30,000 young people have been engaged in the programme to date, with around half being from BAME communities, and over 900 coaches, youth workers, community and faith group leaders have been trained as tennis activators.
Kiran Matharu, the LTA’s Community Tennis Manager, said: “The LTA is delighted to continue our close work with Sporting Equals by supporting this year’s BEDSAs and showcasing the work being done to engage BAME communities in tennis.
“SERVES sites across the country are doing amazing work every week. The three shortlisted for this award are leading examples of the way tennis is embracing a greater diversity of young people. They are organisations who themselves aim to unite and transform communities and make a difference to people’s lives, and we are proud to have them all as part of the SERVES programme.”
BEDSAs Shortlist – LTA Community Tennis Project of the Year 2020:
Khizra Masjid & Communities for All (Manchester)
Khizra Masjid is believed to first Mosque in the country to have hosted tennis activity. They now deliver regular tennis sessions to both male and female participants, including disability tennis sessions. The sessions introduce the sport to people who have never engaged with it before and and have had a positive impact on behaviour, health and confidence. Their female SERVES tennis activators took part in an LTA SERVES & LTA She Rallies workshop with Judy Murray, which has resulted in new women and girls focussed activity taking place.
Pro Touch SA CIC (London)
Pro Touch SA is a charitable social enterprise that manages both an Academy and Community programmes across London. They have engaged over 1000 young people in SERVES tennis sessions across housing estates, youth clubs and holiday programmes. Over 75% of these are from BAME backgrounds, with a large proportion coming from deprived communities. Tennis was not something many were used to seeing, but the impact of the SERVES programme means it is now a priority activity for Pro Touch SA.
Young Asian Voices (Sunderland)
Young Asian Voices is a charity that works with BAME young people, including refugees and asylum seekers, addressing gaps in provision for these communities in what is an area of high deprivation. Despite many of the young people never having had access to the sport and initially thinking tennis wasn’t for them, they now love the weekly SERVES sessions. The sessions have helped young people develop increased respect and self-confidence, and supported them around wider challenges such as language and cultural barriers.
Voting will close on Sunday 8th March - you can cast your votes now by clicking here.