Tennis Foundation grow tennis within FE Sector
Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, the Tennis Foundation have announced funding for 5 new ‘Tennis Activator’ roles and support for 30 colleges in England, Scotland and Wales to grow and develop tennis programmes within the Further Education sector. Partnering with AoC Sport, the funding is part of the Tennis Foundation and LTA’s wider strategy to grow and sustain the number of young people aged 16 to 19 years participating, competing, volunteering and coaching tennis.
Creating employment for 16 – 20 year olds, the 5 new ‘Tennis Activators’ at TyneMet College, Sheffield College, Nottingham College, Walsall College and Bucks College Group will support the development of recreational and competitive tennis within their college by coaching accessible, grassroots sessions and providing new opportunities for everyone to get involved in the sport.The 5 new ‘Tennis Activators’ will join over 600 others who are already making difference to colleges and communities across the UK.
In addition to the above roles, the Tennis Foundation have announced they will be working with 30 colleges across England, Scotland and Wales over the 2017–2018 academic year, to further grow the sport in the sector. Applications were submitted by 15 September 2017, subsquently a national funding panel which includes an FE Education Projects Manager, a representative from the LTA and a representative from AoC Sport will decide which colleges are successful in their bid. The successful 30 colleges will be receiving £1000, a training resource and a hoodie for a student ambassador.
Speaking about the project, Alyson Hastie, Development Manager at AoC Sport commented: ‘This is a really exciting opportunity for colleges to develop their tennis provision and allow more students to get involved in the sport. The Colleges will have a real chance to impact on the number of young people being able to access tennis, both in college and in their local communities.’
As part of the funding application process, on Tuesday 7 November 2017 the Tennis Foundation held an inspirational FE National Training Day at Loughborough University for staff and students to engage with other colleges who have received funding, share previous successes and challenges and develop their plans further. The day also comprised off-court workshops and time on court for staff and students to help deliver tennis across their local area. Benji Evans, College Sport Maker at North Shropshire College who attended the training day commented: ‘’As a college, we been really impressed with the Tennis Foundation for their continued support and investment into college sport. We have worked closely with the foundation over the last three years and we seen tennis developed from the occasional tennis session each month to weekly sessions that run throughout the academic year. The recent FE training day at Loughborough is a great example where the foundation have invested time and resources into the FE sector. Our students attended an eventful day; full of useful workshops focused around the promotion of inclusion, disability tennis, cardio tennis and touch tennis. Our students were completely inspired and empowered by the event and they have all returned to college and they could not wait to deliver tennis related activities to other students.’
The Tennis Foundation first launched the Further Education Tennis Programme in September 2011, with the key objective being to grow tennis among Gen Z. With growth and participation rates firmly on the increase since then and with the additional funding announced for the academic year ahead, the future certainly looks bright for tennis in the sector. Paul Cummins, Further Education and Education Projects Manager at the Tennis Foundation commented on recent developments saying: ‘We are delighted to work with the FE sector to create 5 new exciting roles that are already having significant impact on increasing participation in their colleges and throughout the year expect to see real growth within the communities they sit in. We are also delighted to support 30 colleges in the UK, with funding to grow new participation programs in 2017 / 2018. A special thank you to Laura Danskin at AoC Sport and the colleges for their support in helping the above to come to reality.’