For the past two years, Disability Sport Fife (DSF) has successfully run an inclusive performance football Academy programme in conjunction with the Scottish FA Football Development Officers who are part of Active Fife. With support from Tennis Scotland and Scottish Disability Sport, DSF has worked in partnership with Alan Russell Head Coach of Dunfermline Tennis Club to run a parallel Academy Tennis programme for pupils with additional support needs.
The opportunity to participate was offered to all secondary schools across Fife with departments for pupils with additional support needs. Woodmill HS in Dunfermline and Balwearie HS in Kirkcaldy accepted the offer enthusiastically and during the final weeks of the summer term, 61 pupils with additional support needs were introduced to tennis within school time.
Michael Russell, Alan Russell, Diane Taylor and Mathew Forrest from Dunfermline Tennis Club were the coaches involved with support from school staff. Dunfermline Tennis Club is now offering tennis coaching, games and Cardio Tennis for participants with a physical, sensory or learning disability of all levels of ability during July and August as a follow up to the in school sessions. All Tennis Academy attendees have been offered the opportunity to take part.
The sessions will run on the following Sundays, 2pm – 2.45pm:
- 17th July
- 24th July
- 7th August
- 14th August
- 21st August
The cost for each session will be £2 per participant. To book a place in any of the sessions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as the tennis clubs in Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy, Falkland Tennis Club and Newport Tennis Club have expressed an interest in promoting inclusive tennis. DSF also offers indoor short tennis as part of the racquet sports session offered every Monday evening at the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre.
DSF is indebted to Dunfermline Tennis Club Head Coach Alan Russell for his enthusiasm and determination to promote disability tennis. The five sessions during July and August, coupled with the six weeks of Academy Tennis, demonstrate clearly that there is commitment in Fife to inclusive tennis from a range of partners.
The Football Academy programme is now well established and seven schools benefitted this year from quality coaching from very experienced Scottish FA coaches like Dave Costello. The first year of the Tennis Academy programme has been judged a success and hopefully will be repeated in the summer of 2017. DSF now plans to turn its attention to an Academy badminton programme for players with additional support needs to run throughout 2016/2017.
Richard Brickley MBE – President Disability Sport Fife