Tennis opens new horizons for disabled learners

May 29 2015

A NEW tennis initiative is proving a smash hit with disabled learners at City of Bristol College.

A NEW tennis initiative is proving a smash hit with disabled learners at City of Bristol College.

In partnership with Kings Tennis Club in Bishopston, the college is piloting a scheme – funded by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Tennis Foundation – to introduce disabled learners to the game.

A group of 22 young people with learning difficulties and disabilities – all part of a three-year Horizons programme at the college’s Ashley Down centre – have just embarked on a six-week tennis course at the neighbouring Gloucestershire County Cricket Club sports hall.

Under the guidance of Tom Smith, a Kings Tennis Club coach, the learners are quickly picking up new skills, and will take part in a fun, inter-college competition at the Bishopston club on June 8.

Two more groups from City of Bristol College are expected to take part in sessions from September.

Gemma Parry, Sports Maker at the college, said: “It’s a pilot scheme to get the learners into recreational tennis.

“They really enjoy it, it’s improving their co-ordination and foundation skills and ultimately we hope they will go on to join the club, where they can meet and enjoy recreational tennis with other disabled learners.”

Jayne Applebee, the Horizons course leader at Ashley Down, added: “Over the past year we have seen students’ fitness and levels of participation increase, they have developed an enjoyment of being active and look forward to the sessions.

“Hand-eye co-ordination, communication and teamwork are just some of the skills that have also been developing through taking part in these activities, and staff working alongside the programme have also developed confidence in using some of the activities outside the sessions.”