The Almondsbury Tennis Club disability tennis group were thrilled to receive a grant recently from the Dan Maskill Tennis Trust. Lynda Riddle, a volunteer with the group, who is also on the Tennis Club committee, explained: “We always need funding to pay for equipment, wet weather venue hire, and also to pay for a trained tennis coach. In previous years this has come from local groups or the LTA, but we weren’t sure how we could keep going. So we thought we’d apply for a grant from the Dan Maskill foundation, and were thrilled when we found we’d been successful!.” The grant is enough to keep the group going for another couple of years.
Why is the group so important? Sue, another volunteer, explained: “It’s good exercise, which not many groups are able to provide, and is really essential.” She went on: “Most activities for less able adults stop for the holidays, but this group keeps going all year round. That continuity is tremendously important – and also provides something valuable for the adults to do during the holidays.” Sue told a lovely story about her son Joe, who was at the beach on holiday, and expected the family to go home in the middle of the holiday ‘because it’s tennis tomorrow’!”
The group starts with a gentle warm-up, before going on to the tennis activities. The special balls allows the game to be played at a manageable pace for people with less quick reactions, and makes it easier for beginners to pick up the basics. One of the lovely things about the morning is that carers are also able to join in and play a sociable game with those they support.
The mixture of disabilities varies, but Sue pointed out that tennis allows adults who find ordinary social interaction very hard a way of interacting normally. Another really important aspect of the group is the break time at the end of the morning, which again provides more opportunity for interaction, and not many groups have that.
Christie, who has been attending the sessions for eight years, couldn’t wait to say how much she enjoyed the group, and how much John and Lynda made it special. When asked for a photo, Christie (who was proudly wearing her tennis club polo shirt) gave the most beaming smile! Christie said she really misses Joe, Sue’s son, who sadly passed away suddenly last year, and she also likes to come to the group to remember him.
Sue finished talking by saying: “I really haven’t got the words to tell you how wonderful this group is!” So a big ‘thank you’ to the Dan Maskill Tennis Trust for making it possible for the group to continue.
For more information about the group, which meets on Tuesday mornings, contact John Kimani on 07951 584669 or visit www.almondsburytennis.org.uk
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 35). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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