Volunteers' Week: Discover the Disability and Education Programmes of the Year
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The Awards celebrate the volunteers and communities who dedicate their time to creating endless opportunities for people to play tennis.
On the third day of Volunteers' Week, we’re announcing two more of the incredible winners that feature on this year's Aegon British Tennis Awards.
To mark the start of Volunteers' week, the spotlight was on Sue Rich who picked up the Outstanding Achievement of the Year Award for her lifelong commitment to giving back to the grassroots. Today we’re shining the spotlight on the Disability and Education Programmes of the Year.
- Sports-based volunteering in the UK is worth an estimated a mighty £53 billion to the economy!
Grantham Tennis Club, Disability Programme of the Year Award
Grantham Tennis Club epitomises the meaning of ‘everyone welcome’. The club, its members and coaching team have a ‘can do’ positive approach to including people from all ages and backgrounds, including disabled people, and as a result have a thriving player base including many people with a disability.
Part of the growing network of disability tennis venues supported by the Tennis Foundation, the LTA’s charitable partner, the club really is a leading example of how tennis can be a sport that is inclusive and accessible to all. Disability tennis is entwined in the club’s ethos, reinforced by Rich Edgley, one of the many passionate coaches at the club:
In the space of just twelve months (September 2015 – September 2016), the number of weekly disability tennis participants has doubled – a true testament to the fantastic efforts of everyone involved.
On top of this, the club has held two Tennis Foundation disability camps for both wheelchair and learning disability players, and supported two disabled tennis players to gain coaching qualifications so they can join the committed coaching team.
The team has hosted a number of exciting events to encourage more people to pick up a racket and play! A recent highlight has to be Tim Henman trying his hand at wheelchair tennis, with the entertaining commentary of Andrew Castle.
Joanna Farquharson, Deputy Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation said, “We’ve seen through our support for our network of venues that participation in tennis among disabled people is at record levels, and nowhere is that more evident than at Grantham Tennis Club. We are delighted to see the outstanding work at Grantham being recognised with this thoroughly deserved award – huge congratulations to all involved!”
Cardinal Newman RC School PE Department, Education Programme of the Year Award
Two years ago, tennis was barely on the radar at Cardinal Newman RC School, but since taking part in innovative secondary schools programme ‘School of Tennis’, it has become a hub for the sport.
‘School of Tennis’ is designed and managed by the Tennis Foundation. It aims to radically change the way tennis is delivered in secondary schools to make it more relevant and engaging for teenagers.The programme provides schools with support so they can deliver tennis in the best way to suit their school and pupils.
As a direct outcome of the scheme, students in years 7-10 were able to take part in tennis sessions during curriculum time. Nearly 500 pupils completed at least one tennis-related project over a six-week period, equalling an amazing 3,000 hours spent studying the game.
The team put the ‘School of Tennis’ funding to fantastic use and introduced Cardio Tennis to the PE curriculum. This was done to such excellence that the PE department chose to demonstrate a lesson to a professional learning group of newly qualified teachers.
Last summer, twelve students successfully completed the Tennis Leader Award - two of which have gone on to coach after-school clubs at local primary schools. Neil Perkins, John Williams and Dawn Webb also went the extra mile and attended Tennis Foundation teacher training courses, creating more opportunities for students to spruce up their racket skills!
Christine Sprowell, Schools Tennis Manager at the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, said: “The PE staff and Senior Leadership Team have been hugely supportive in radically changing the way tennis is delivered in the school and subsequently bringing more students to the game so they can enjoy all the physical and social benefits which tennis brings.”
And it doesn’t stop there with plans to place pupils on a LTA Level 1 coaching course, while eight Student Tennis Ambassadors drive the extra-curricular programme. We couldn’t be more excited to follow our award-winning team as they keep up their great work!
Feeling inspired? Anyone can volunteer in tennis – no matter your age, ability or background. Get involved today!