Youngsters in Exeter and Devon are being encouraged to give tennis a try for the first time as part of a drive to get families from communities across the region more active.
With the second week of Wimbledon underway and Brit hope Johanna Konta into the quarter-finals, children from the city took to the courts at Heavitree Pleasure Grounds earlier this week to take part in a Tennis for Kids taster session led by local coaches.
The LTA, the national governing body for tennis in Great Britain, and Exeter City Council joined forces to showcase one of the many courses available to young people and families across Devon this summer. The event focused on how Tennis for Kids encourages more active families and how the programme complements the work being done by Exeter City Council in this area.
Children from St Leonard’s Primary School were invited to take part in a session and were joined by the LTA Head of South & South West Region Sharon Heeley and representatives from Exeter City Council.
The LTA’s Tennis for Kids programme, which focuses on kids having fun and making new friends while getting active, is part of range of low-cost and free community tennis activities on offer at Heavitree and other park sites across the city and Devon in the coming months.
Since launching in 2016 following Great Britain’s historic Davis Cup, over 74,000 children have taken part in Tennis for Kids and this year the scheme is hoping to sign up its 100,000thparticipant. In that time over 1,000 children from Devon have taken part in the six-week course, which gives 4-11-year-olds an introduction to the sport.
Sharon Heeley commented: “Tennis is a great activity for all the family to enjoy together and Tennis for Kids is the perfect way for children to try the sport for the first time in a fun and positive way. We share the council’s vision to get more families active and Tennis for Kids together with a range of other low-cost and free tennis activities for all the family in the city can make a real difference.”
Councillor Ollie Pearson, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Physical Activity, Exeter City Council said: “We have the ambition for Exeter to be the most active city in England, and we are excited to be working with LTA coaches across the city to get kids active from a young age through Tennis for Kids. Our free, recently-developed tennis courts are a feature in two key parks here at Heavitree Pleasure Ground and Cowick Barton Playing Fields. Local tennis hubs like these provide a great location for Tennis for Kids and enable these new young players to continue to enjoy the game through playing with their families in a fun, informal and free facility."
Children who take part get their own kit with a special Tennis for Kids racket & ball set and a personalised t-shirt all for under £30.
To find out more about Tennis for Kids and sign-up to a local course visit https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/tennisforkids