Tuesday 28th June was a very special day at Wimbledon with the inaugural Aegon National British Tennis Awards recognising some of the incredible achievements made in British tennis in 2015.
The awards held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club celebrated some of the successes of volunteers, coaches, clubs communities and players from across Great Britain. Ten winners were selected out of 1,500 exceptional nominations and received their award at a special ceremony at the home of tennis.
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith, Andrew Castle, Annabel Croft and LTA President Cathie Sabin where all in attendance to meet the guests and present awards to the winners.
The disability accolade is given to a programme that has a welcoming, sociable and friendly atmosphere and provides a safe and inclusive environment, offering a quality programme including coaching, camps and festivals with a competitive element through the organisation of tournaments.
The Glasgow Disability Tennis programme was set up in 2013 and has grown substantially and now provides deaf, visually impaired, learning disability and wheelchair tennis sessions. This has been possible by visiting 32 schools and linking with Glasgow Sport and community disability groups.
The group has trained their coaching team through various disability tennis coach education courses, greatly enhancing the quality of the sessions. Participation numbers are continually improving with 6 weekly coaching groups offered all year round. In addition one of the coaches visits the spinal injuries unit every 6 weeks to do taster sessions at the hospital. The programme has recruited new members and benefits from excellent volunteer support through local schools Duke of Edinburgh programmes.
The Glasgow Disability Tennis programme who earlier this year also won the Tennis Scotland Disability Programme of the Year Award continues to encourage more disabled people to play tennis more often whilst engaging with the ongoing Tennis Scotland and Tennis Foundation programmes and campaigns.
Lesley Whitehead who organises and started the programme in 2013 said, “We were really pleased when we were selected by Tennis Scotland to win the Disability Programme of the Year, for us that was a fantastic achievement for all the work we are doing in Glasgow and surrounding areas for people with disabilities. To now find out that we have won the Aegon British Tennis Award for Disability Programme of the Year is just the icing on the cake. We are all proud of what we have achieved, the coaches, the players & their families, everyone, it’s just amazing.”
Doc McKelvey, Head of Tennis Development at Tennis Scotland commented, “This is fantastic news for a worthwhile and deserving project, who do so much to make our sport as inclusive as possible and do such a great job in encouraging more people to play tennis more often.”