Britain's leading tennis charity, the Tennis Foundation has teamed up with Sporting Equals to change lives through tennis. Taking traditional sports into new places has been a huge success for the North London Community Centre (NLMCC).
Utilising the Serves programme ran by the Tennis Foundation the NLMCC ran a 12 week pilot programme where sessions were delivered weekly by a trained tennis activator. The centre was also supplied with a range of resources including pop courts soft balls and appropriately sized rackets and nets.
Haroon Alibhai the Youth Manager at NLMCC expressed how tennis has never been a major sport for the community, “Tennis isn't really a sport that we've delivered at the community centre so it was something new for us and I was hopeful we would get some interest.”
Delivering tennis in new spaces brought challenges that were overcome, “we haven't got the biggest indoor space, our celling and roofs are quite low, so to play tennis you have to improvise quite a bit, and that's where James came in from the activator course, he helped us with a lot of different games”
After the regular attendances to the session the North London Muslin Community Centre entered a competition via video entry that would see the boys involved in the Serves UK-USA exchange programme. The application was successful resulting in 9 boys being placed for this trip.
“It was really good to be awarded the trip and have the perks along with it, going to the national tennis centre, everyone's got their own rackets and getting one to one coaching with James (Tennis Activator) on a weekly basis that's improved everyone's ability.” Participant
'This exchange will give our young people the opportunity to broaden their horizons and will be a catalyst for crafting strong links with peers across the Atlantic, enabling friendships to grow and flourish. Furthermore this will be an educational experience for the participants, enhancing
their passion for tennis and will be a springboard for them to be trained as coaches in the near fu-ture', Haroon Alibhai, Youth Development Manager
This once in a life time opportunity for these boys will take place on the 25 August 2016 when they will travel to the USA. This trip will give the young boys a chance to play competitive tennis matches with peers and attend the opening ceremony for the US Open tournament.
Geoff Newton, Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation comments;
"At the Tennis Foundation we know anybody can play tennis, anyone from any background and whatever their age or ability. And that's why we're thrilled to be able to offer this exchange as part of our exciting SERVES programme and bring the health and social benefits of playing the sport to traditionally harder to reach groups.”
Sporting Equals will be following these boys through regular blogs and social media.
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