Lincolnshire Tennis Rallies on wheels, to welcome all to sport

​Tennis is one of the UK’s best-loved sports and watching Wimbledon is one of the highlights of the British Summer, not only for the fast-paced sport, but to enjoy strawberries and cream with a glass of Pimms!
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​Now the sport is being opened up for even wider participation.

While there have been active wheelchair tennis squads running at Grantham Tennis Club for some time, thanks to Sport England’s Together Fund, distributed in the county by Active Lincolnshire, they have now been able to launch wheelchair tennis throughout the county.

Their first step was to purchase eight tennis wheelchairs, ensuring those reliant on a wheelchair for mobility or those who have limited mobility are able to participate in physical exercise and enjoy some tennis. Two of the chairs have been issued to Sleaford Tennis Club, which currently has an all-inclusive group running, and four chairs have enabled Louth Tennis and Sports Centre to develop a new wheelchair tennis programme which is open to all. The final two have been received by Boston, where they have been regularly used by individuals. Several players have since purchased their own chairs to play.

Clubs have netted specialist chairs to make the sport more accessibleClubs have netted specialist chairs to make the sport more accessible
Clubs have netted specialist chairs to make the sport more accessible

Sport England’s Together Fund existed to help reduce the negative impact of coronavirus and help community groups working with target audiences to grow and help more people. Active Lincolnshire, our county’s champions for the positive power of sport and physical activity for everyone, distributed the funding on behalf of Sport England and have been delighted with the impact that each project has delivered.

Ten coaches have now attended a ‘Disability Awareness in Tennis’ course, which will support the sessions and there are hopes to have a club start in Lincoln in 2024. With a venue already found and the correct chairs, this is looking hopefully and Lincolnshire Tennis is looking forward to promoting wheelchair tennis around the county with the physical and mental benefits for all.

Anthony, one of the participants of the sessions told us what attending has done for him: ‘’I played tennis before my accident, and I didn’t think I would be able to play until fully recovered, so when the Club told me wheelchair tennis was going to be available, I thought I would have a go.

"I didn’t realise I would get so much out of it. One of the enjoyments is playing with others and learning how to play tennis in a wheelchair. Hopefully the Club will carry on with it and I will come and do it. It’s great. It has helped me so much – not just physically but mentally because it gives me a rush!’’

Ten coaches have now attended a ‘Disability Awareness in Tennis’ course, which will support the sessions.Ten coaches have now attended a ‘Disability Awareness in Tennis’ course, which will support the sessions.
Ten coaches have now attended a ‘Disability Awareness in Tennis’ course, which will support the sessions.

The team hopes to run a wheelchair tournament in 2024, as well as looking at disability summer camps. A festival event took place in December 2023, which welcomed Support Workers to have a go and understand the benefits that the sport brings.

Coach Jane said: ‘’The impact the funding has had on the participants has been immeasurable. The smiles and the laughter, the camaraderie and the support says it all!’’

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