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New Leeds based charity are breaking down barriers to tennis participation in underserved communities

• 2 MINUTE READ

Meet the Breaking Barriers Tennis Association (BBTA), an organisation based in Leeds with a passion for helping children from underserved communities play and enjoy tennis.

Six months into their delivery and after a successful phase one pilot programme, they have recently been awarded a grant from the LTA Tennis Foundation to help continue their work to open up tennis within their local communities.

Where did the idea for BBTA come from?

Before starting the project, the team spent years researching, and asking themselves the question - how can we make a difference in our community through a sport (tennis!) we love?

They discovered that children and families from their community face multiple barriers when thinking about accessing tennis, including cost, weather, perceptions, and lack of access to equipment.

So, they eventually decided to take the plunge and started the BBTA programme, which aims to break barriers to and through tennis for children from underserved communities – making the game accessible to all.

Breaking Barriers Tennis Association

What does the project look like?

The programme takes an “integrated approach” so that children from underserved communities can access and play tennis in traditional tennis venues in Leeds, for free.

Not only do these children get to experience tennis, and all the benefits that come with it, but it also brings together groups and communities from different backgrounds who may not normally meet, truly working to open up the sport of tennis.

The team have partnered with four local Tennis Centres in Leeds to deliver this programme, which are all within one mile of IMD 1-4 areas. These centres are:

  • Chapel Allerton Tennis Club
  • John Charles Centre for Sport Leeds
  • Leeds Becket University Tennis Centre
  • Armley Tennis Club

The impact of BBTA so far

BBTA-coach-session.jpg

Justin, one of the Founders of BBTA said “This approach has been very successful – so far. It’s also had its challenges – it’s uncomfortable for some. Uncomfortable for parents and children from our community and probably for parents and children from ‘traditional’ tennis too.

"Our programme enables children and families from our community to experience tennis in the same way other children do. We have found that good, fun coaching by LTA-accredited coaches, in good tennis facilities, has seen children thrive.

"We are grateful for parents who've trusted us and stepped outside their comfort zone, our excellent delivery partners, who play a key role in delivering great consistent, regular playful coaching over a long period which will embed tennis and physical activity into the lives of children from our community, allowing them to reap the social, mental and physical benefits of playing the sport. Most importantly, we're grateful and amazed by the kids in our programme who have embraced tennis and have just been ace!"

Hajira, a parent whose children attend the sessions said: “The BBTA programme has been great for Hassan and Hannah. It has been a great opportunity and a chance to experience tennis, and for Hassan especially, who has been under investigation for ADHD, he has just taken to the sport.  The coaches that have been provided through this have really understood my children and not made them feel different in any way, just given them an opportunity shrive and enjoy sport.”  

If you are keen to join the LTA Tennis Foundation community and keep up to date with the life-changing work they are doing, then sign up to the dedicated mailing list at the link below.

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