Thursday 25th August marked the day for a very unique and special exchange for nine boys from the North London Muslim Community Centre (NLMCC). In a collaboration with the Tennis Foundation, Sporting Equals helped to engage Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities playing tennis. Though this work local serve centres were created, many of which were held in Faith and Community based settings targeting people who would otherwise not engage in tennis.
As part of the Tennis Foundation wider engagement with local communities TF provided an opportunity for local communities to put forward proposals for taking part in a New York exchange visit. The NLMCC was selected and the trip was awarded to nine local boys who had taken part in the proejct. Youth development manager Haroon Alibhai, Serves Programme Tutor James Keatley, and Youth Worker Tas Adia from NLMCC travelled overseas to New York City with the nine boys.
The four-day packed itinerary ensured the group would receive one to one coaching sessions, attend the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, as well as attend the opening day of the US Open.
Reflecting on the trip Youth Development Manager Haroon Alibhai described the benefits the group experienced,
“It was fantastic; our programme of four days they were really intensive which was really good because we had things to do every day. The kids seem to really enjoy themselves which was the main thing, they got to learn a lot about the sport we had a lot of one to one coaching which was very welcomed, especially by those that really want to excel in the sport.”
Looking ahead to the future possibilities of engagement with tennis Haroon expressed great enthusiasm to continue the journey of tennis post-New York,
“We've got plans to hopefully fast track a few of the young people that came on the trip, especially those that have got a serious interest in the sport... trying to get them on coaching course tennis activator courses. Trying to get them more playing time at different courts to keep them motivated.”
This exchange has enhanced the young people's apssion for tennis and will provde a great platform for them to pursue playing tennis or becoming a tennis activator and conitue to integreate tennis into new places.
The LTA has become the first national governing body to sign the new Sporting Equals Charter, which aims to actively promote greater involvement in sport and physical activity among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
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