With the profile of disability tennis at an all-time high, mainly thanks to the Wimbledon heroics of Wheelchair singles and doubles champion Gordon Reid, one Scottish tennis club has partnered with their local authority to offer a comprehensive programme aimed at encouraging increased participation.
Lenzie Tennis Club received funding from The Keys to Life (Scottish Government) to run adult disability sessions within East Dunbartonshire and due to the success of the recent pilot project, there was an appetite to develop the initiative going forward.
Club coach Allwyn Crawford, who co-ordinates the programme liaising closely with local area co-ordinators from the East Dunbartonshire Social Work Department, Ceartas Advocacy and TAG, outlines the programme.
"Easter Camps were set up, where 16 adults took part in a programme to access their local community club, and by taking part develop a healthier lifestyle and meet new people. The camps were a huge success, with all players wishing to continue for more.
"The project aims to find a path for adults with learning disabilities, some of whom also have a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum, either within the mainstream programme as a volunteer or taking it to the next level of potential employment opportunities with Level 1 assistant course.
A steering group has been set up, which meets on a regular basis, to discuss and plan each phase of the project and with a 2 year plan, the club hopes to break down barriers to participation, establishing regular sessions to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and to work closely with all agencies/funders to strengthen support within all areas."
Feedback from all related to the first phase of Easter Camps has been highly positive and Tennis Scotland Regional Development Manager Mike Cohen is happy with how the project is developing, "This is a great programme to get adults with disabilities involved in tennis at a local tennis club, Allwyn has done a fantastic job in pulling the project together and I am sure she will make it a success"
For more information about Tennis Aces at Lenzie Tennis Club, visit their website.