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Young child celebrating on court at an LTA SERVES event
LTA

LTA on track to deliver ambitious targets set out in three-year Inclusion Strategy to achieve its vision of tennis opened up

• 3 MINUTE READ

We have today published the second annual update on our Inclusion Strategy.

We have set out the progress we have made over the last year towards delivering our three-year Inclusion Strategy, as part of our wider vision of Tennis Opened Up.

We set ourselves ambitious targets of achieving 65% of the actions contained in the strategy by the end of 2022 and 85% by the end of 2023. Today’s two-year annual review shows the 2022 target was reached and we are currently on track to meet the target for 2023 as well.

Amongst a host of other actions, this year’s report highlights improvements in representation of both those from a diverse ethnic background and those who are LGBTQ+ at a board level. It also highlights the appointment of our second-ever female President, Sandi Procter.

We can announce today that we have also recently recruited Chris Ratcliffe, chief executive of Boccia England and also someone who has represented Great Britain in the Deaflympics, as the newest member of our Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Group (IDAG).

Delivering against the actions contained in the Inclusion Strategy has been a key focus but we haven’t stopped there – inclusion simply as a way of working is now more deeply ingrained in what we do. This has led to working with other great projects which were not specifically part of the original strategy, like hosting the inaugural ‘Tennis Black List’ Awards at the National Tennis Centre just before the Wimbledon Championships and supporting Pride in Tennis to launch their successful Rally Allies programme.

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The Inclusion Strategy was launched to support our vision of Tennis Opened Up with one clear ambition – that we would not be satisfied until all parts of the sport fully reflect the diversity of our communities across Britain. This is a long-term commitment.

Today we can see that activity we are undertaking as part of this vision – particularly around partnerships and investment - is having a positive effect on our player base - we have seen record levels of participants over the last year – in fact, since 2019, annual play has grown by over 40%, and monthly play has almost doubled. The most recent figures have shown that growth is faster among females than males, and among those from a lower socio-economic background than those from higher.

Key activity we have delivered:

  • Launch of our Open for All Plan setting out how we are going to continue being a world leader in opening up tennis to disabled people
  • The first refurbished park courts opened as part of our investment of £30m, in partnership with the UK Government
  • Establishment of the LTA Tennis Foundation, the LTA’s charity dedicated to improving lives through tennis. In April the charity announced a £1.5m cash injection for a range of projects across tennis in Britain
  • Unveiled a major new campaign to inspire and engage children primarily aged 4-11 to play tennis – ‘The LTA Tennisables
  • Launched a partnership with Amazon Prime to get more girls playing tennis
  • Hosted the inaugural Tennis Black List
  • Begun to recruit high-quality coach mentors from ethnically diverse backgrounds to provide support and encouragement to new coaches from similar backgrounds
  • Worked with the Prime Minister’s Office to set up and host a round-table discussion at Number 10 during the Wimbledon Championships on how we can open tennis up for people from more diverse ethnic communities
  • Continued to work with Pride in Tennis, the independent LGBTQ+ tennis network, to make our sport more welcoming for LGBTQ+ communities, in particular by using our Major Events to celebrate Pride month
  • Continued to make improvements across our Major Events including prayer rooms, lowered heights at reception desks to make them more wheelchair accessible, standalone accessibility tournament webpage, more accessible seating and improved training for stewards and staff
  • Announced new three-year partnership with national charity StreetGames to help deliver our SERVES programme
  • County and Island Associations all working towards full compliance with the new County Governance Framework, which includes a requirement to put in place an effective Inclusion Plan for their organisation
  • Our Coaching and Disability Development teams collaborated with national disability partner organisations – such as Parkinson’s UK and Spautism – to broaden further our set of inclusive coaching materials, supplemented by a series of inclusion-themed training webinars
  • Completely reviewed and updated our approach to training and recruiting Tennis Activators
  • Used our volunteer and customer surveys to gather data on inclusion in tennis
  • In preparation for National Inclusion Week 2023, we created new online modules and made all our inclusion-related online modules and resources free of charge
  • Implemented a new diversity data capture approach as part of our LTA Advantage membership scheme to give us better data on our players, volunteers, coaches, officials and fans
  • Continued to publish and update the data in the strategy against key audience groups. 14 (33%) of the 44 measures have shown improvement over the last year

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We have also delivered key activity internally as an organisation including:

  • Put in place conscious inclusion training and discussion workshops for colleagues
  • Begun a programme of internal webinars to raise better awareness of the diverse make up of our organisation and our sport
  • Have a team of mental health first aiders in place across the business and collaborated with the Samaritans to raise awareness of positive behaviours for colleague mental health and to reduce the stigma around talking about it
  • Leadership and governance actions prioritised, completed and embedded in our day-to-day approach
  • Expanded our colleague “Inspire” programme out to female county volunteers to help encourage and enable female Council members to take on more senior roles within their own organisations and within the LTA Council and Board as well
  • Improved our inclusive recruitment, with a 16% increase in the proportion of female hires, 14% increase in those from a diverse ethnic background and a 2% increase in disabled people

Read the full report

Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased today to share the progress across tennis to make our sport more welcoming and inclusive for everyone, no matter their background.

“These achievements have been a result of the commitment and effort of everyone across the business, and our many partners across the wider tennis landscape, to enable and drive a culture of everyday inclusion.

“Two years into the strategy and much has been achieved but we know that there is more to be done. A key focus remains broadening representation in our coaching and volunteer communities in the areas of gender, race and disability in particular. We have, however, made some good progress and are planning on rolling out a more comprehensive approach to training for relevant volunteers across our County and Island Associations and Registered Venues as well as launching a new coach portal in the new year.

“As we develop our areas of focus for the next three years, we will redouble our efforts on this to ensure that inclusion is firmly at the heart of what we do and who we are as an organisation.”

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