Positive Youth Foundation runs a racquet sport session every Monday evening from 5pm till 7pm at Sidney Stringer Academy. The session is open to all abilities, ages and gender to participate in and liven up their first evening of the week. This week’s session did just that, aided by the brand new tennis court that was gifted by Tennis Foundation, becoming one of only ten organisations to have access to this court. The aim is to make tennis more accessible to everyone and break tennis stereotypes.
The session began with everyone getting involved in setting up the court, whether that was helping take out the court from the store cupboard, setting up the net or even taking the equipment out ready to get started as soon as the court was ready. The excitement and energy was clearly visible as before the court was rolled out, several participants had already reserved their spots, ensuring they don’t miss out on this one of a kind experience. Our sports coaches played a variety of games, from last man stands, doubles, triples and even an intense couple of rounds of foot-tennis which even got Community Support Officer, Naveen Madhas drawn into playing for some bragging rights and he lauded the weekly sessions by saying ‘it’s really good and positive, it’s a variety of different age groups and it keeps them off the streets and active’. The diversity and unity within the session is what stands out for him ‘there are all different people from different cultures together in one place’.
Mohammed, a participant expressed a few reasons as to why he came to our sessions every week ‘I really enjoy it because I get to play with my friends and it helps me improve in school P: E in sports I don’t normally play’. On being asked about the new court he replied ‘it’s really fun and good to play on!’. Another participant, Anthony, went on to say ‘it’s really cool and an easy way to play tennis’.
This new court has definitely proved in just its first session that the interaction with tennis aided by this piece of equipment will change and improve. One of the targets set out by the Tennis Foundation in making tennis more accessible is portrayed in Anthony’s response when asked what attracted him to come every week ‘you get to trial different sports at this session and new sports which I can’t do in other places’. This was the first week of using this court and we had a great response from participants, volunteers and coaches. The session is divided into playing tennis and badminton so if you fancy smashing a few aces and drop shots next week, feel free to come down and take part at Sidney Stringer Academy, every Monday from 5pm till 7pm.