Bringing together all generations to create a real community – meet Montrose Lawn Tennis Club
• 4 MINUTE READ
A well-established club located in the North-East of Scotland – Montrose Lawn Tennis Club is nurturing new and existing tennis players in their community through a whole range of programmes and initiatives that caters to every age group.
Home to six full-size outdoor courts with floodlighting, two mini courts and a comfortable clubhouse, which provides a fantastic social space for its 270+ members, Montrose Tennis Club is certainly paving the way for success in Angus in Scotland.
“A couple of the programmes we’ve set up in recent years weren’t originally being done by other clubs, but now they have followed on from our initiatives”, said Club President, Maggie Hodges. “Our coach, Graeme Walker, started going into a Day Care centre opposite the tennis courts and running a form of tennis with the clients at the centre.
“The sessions have been running for several years, and when the weather permits, he invites the children from a local nursery down to join the older participants from the Day Care centre on the mini courts.
“You’ll have the two age groups interacting and playing together on court – it’s absolutely fantastic to see and now, other clubs are trying to emulate that. For the children, they’re just having fun with the older generation, while for the daycare clients, it’s a joy for them to be able to do activities outside of the usual one’s you’d get in a daycare centre, such as bingo, and interact with the tots.”
Alongside their admirable work within the club itself, Montrose are looking to collaborate with local charity Angus Alive – an organisation which seeks to inspire healthy, active, and creative lifestyle choices across sports in the area. Through their collaboration, the club is hoping to reach out to families to encourage participation in sports.
“We’ve just finished a huge postcode mapping exercise, where we’re trying to pinpoint areas where people don’t participate in sport - whether that’s football, tennis, or anything else, so we can see physically where we can target to try and increase participation.
“Then we can reach out to families in the areas of the towns where there is social deprivation and try to work out how we can formulate plans to encourage those children and families to come along and participate.
“It will allow us to look at the reasons behind low participation levels, whether it’s transportation issues, or they can’t afford the coaching fees, or because they feel that tennis is a middle-class sport – it’s all about breaking down the barriers,”
On top of their efforts to attract new players, Montrose Tennis Club also pride themselves on their ‘65’s group’ initiative that was introduced post-pandemic. Coach Graeme had wanted to bring together groups of older people who were socially isolated during the pandemic, back onto court to help them reap the social, mental and physical benefits of playing tennis.
“We built up the group and through word of mouth now have 14 regular participants. There are people, who have health issues, such as recovering from cancer and knee and hip replacements and never thought they would ever be able to do anything like this.
“There are some people who are well into their 60s and 70s who had never played tennis before except for when they were kids in school. Five players have actually joined the club as members and they organise their own little matches once a week as well as coming to the coaching sessions.
“It’s a bit like walking tennis – we use unpressurised balls, and they’re allowed two bounces. They’re learning to serve, they don’t have to serve behind the baseline, they can serve from anywhere as long as they get the ball in.
“Some of them are becoming more active because now they know they can do it, whereas before they didn’t think they’d be able to. It’s fantastic to see, they’re so excited about it and often go for a coffee together afterwards – it’s all about the social aspect of it as well as for the fitness benefits of exercise.”
Maggie and the rest of the volunteers at Montrose Tennis Club are drawing on what has been another successful year at the club. Notably, the club’s membership base came together to fund a quarter of the money required to install LED floodlights, while a renewables fund and the National Lottery Community Fund contributed towards the rest. The club recently celebrated with a ‘floodlights switch on’ that was full of cake, fizz and in true Montrose style, a whole community of members coming together.
However, the Club recognise that there’s still work to be done to ensure the club is more inclusive to individuals from all walks of life, with the Club already shifting their focus to introducing disability tennis sessions in the future.
Montrose Lawn Tennis Club
Learn more about Montrose Lawn Tennis Club and the work they are doing to continue to grow the club and attract new members.