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SERVES session group posing with rackets, seated on the floor besides Serves logo at Leigh park

SERVES shortlisted for 'Community Programme' at Sport Industry Awards


The Tennis Foundation’s sport for development programme, SERVES, has been shortlisted for an award at the prestigious BT Sports Industry Awards!

Nominated in the ‘Community Programme of the Year’, SERVES has been recognised for its work with young people aged 8-18 in urban and disadvantaged communities, taking tennis and the benefits it can bring to new places and new people.

The SERVES project embodies the Tennis Foundation’s mission. It simply does not accept that tennis cannot be a sport for everyone, approaching the delivery of what is a traditional sport in a completely different way – a way that is relevant to the audience it seeks to engage.

What makes SERVES work is how we do it. It rips up the manual and breaks the traditional boundaries of the sport to make tennis available to those who thought tennis was not for them. Even the courts look different! We work with partner organisations who know the communities they work with inside out to select sites, and then recruit and train activators from those communities to deliver fun and informal tennis sessions to their peers.

SERVES courts now ‘pop-up’ at over 130 sites every week in places tennis has never been played before and as diverse as mosques, church halls and youth centres – we even had one in the grounds of Buckingham Palace last year!

Through SERVES, we are helping to change the face of British tennis with a greater diversity of both participants in the sport and the tennis workforce. 2017 saw 5,569 young people who otherwise may never have even picked up a tennis racket take part in SERVES sessions across the county, with over a third of these from BAME groups. We have a 50:50 gender split in the activators we train, with 70% living in areas of deprivation and a third from BAME backgrounds.

Beyond participation, our innovative SERVES social change programme then uses tennis as a tool to positively impact the lives of these young people through a series of fun and informal on-court modules that influence them to lead active and healthy lives.

“SERVES has really helped me, not just from a tennis point of view, but also with increasing my confidence. Before, I would rarely talk to people, however, now I try to speak with everyone and get them involved. Being involved has changed my life, I have enjoyed every moment of it. It has enabled me to do so much, currently I am on a level 1 tennis coaching course. I love it because it encourages kids to have a chance at a new sport which is how I was introduced to tennis.”

SERVES would not be what it is without the commitment and support of everyone involved, especially our national partners and all the community organisations that help us deliver the sessions – thank you to everyone involved in making the project the success it is!

The BT Sport Industry Awards are the largest commercial sports awards in the world, taking place at Battersea Evolution in London, on Thursday 26th April 2018.

Bringing together sports stars, celebrities, senior decision makers, influencers and global media, the industry’s most anticipated night of the year celebrates the very best work from across the sector. The famous trophies are awarded on-stage in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,700 guests at the star-studded event, held annually in London.

SERVES has been shortlisted in what is one of the most competitive categories at the event, with the organisers saying the 'Community Programme of the Year witnessed a significant rise in entries, reflecting the shift in the industry mind-set as businesses define their social purpose'.

To find out more about SERVES click here, and to see the BT Sport Industry Awards shortlist in full click here.

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