TENNIS INITIATIVE HELPS 500 TORBAY SCHOOL CHILDREN
Cary Park Tennis Club has brought free tennis to more than 500 Torbay schoolchildren under an initiative supported by a Devon funding charity.
Seven primary schools have benefited from the free use of courts and equipment and tuition from a team of top coaches.
The £1000 cash for the project came from the Tiverton-based Devon Community Foundation after an application put together by the club last year.
All the sessions have taken place this term in a mammoth effort co-ordinated by Cary Park’s head coach Rob Short.
‘It involved a lot of work getting the necessary agreements and schedules worked out. But it’s been amazingly successful and it has involved some kids who have never picked up a racquet before.’
The schools involved are Barton, Ellacombe, Watcombe, Babbacombe, St Margarets, Homelands and Upton.
Feedback from all seven Schools has been hugely positive and some of the youngsters have joined the club already. Others have signed up for Summer Holiday tennis sessions being run by Associate Coach Karen Clark.
Vice-chairman Sam Garner, who masterminded the scheme along with Club Secretary Paula Hill, said: ‘It started as a germ of an idea, and to be absolutely honest it has exceeded our wildest expectations.
‘Some Torbay schools don’t have the cash resources for tennis coaching; others don’t have the space.
‘But what we have managed to do is bring more than 500 children into the world of tennis which can last a lifetime.’
Laura Hales, Marketing Manager for the Devon Community Foundation, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to support this fantastic group. It is groups like this working on the frontline that are so essential to our communities, but the outstanding work done by these organisations that receive funding from us, is only possible through the donations and actions of local people.’
Paula Hill said: ‘The Foundation has been brilliant, and without their help and money this project would still be on the drawing board.
‘It has been wonderful having the children using our courts. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have stopped me to say they just love the sound of the children laughing and having such a good time.
‘The coaches play games with them and make tennis real fun. And all the schools have said it’s been a joy for everyone concerned.’
As a further incentive to get involved in tennis, Rob Short, our head coach awards every participant a certificate and offers an additional club lesson for free!