In our latest case study we are hearing from Fiona at ‘Double Bounce’ in Plymouth, Devon.
About 5 years ago Fiona, armed with her boundless enthusiasm, set up wheelchair tennis sessions in Devon. For the first year, Fiona, an experience accredited LTA coach donated all her time for free and gained funding from Devon LTA and the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust for indoor court hire. The sessions were very successful and after a couple of years Fiona approached us again for some more funding to expand the group even more.
In 2021 Fiona once again gained funding through the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust and was able to expand the group to up to 12 wheelchair tennis players. The sessions take place weekly and are so well run that one player travels (with the wonderful help of his parents) an hour and a half each way! Most other players have travel times of around 45 minutes, such is the geographical area of Devon. The commitment of these players is to be applauded and we are so glad that we can help them to continue with their tennis.
Whilst chatting to Fiona, she tells us that she has been encouraging players to be more independent and with the confidence they have managed to build through her sessions, many are now joining in other tennis sessions, closer to their home. These are not wheelchair specific sessions which is great and shows once again why tennis is such a great sport – everyone can play together! In fact one of our photos shows some of the ladies who have joined in at the Plympton tennis club ladies mornings. Fiona and her group also put an emphasis on competition and at the end of each half term they have a mini tournament. They have also managed to get two wheelchair categories added to local tournaments – the Devon County Championships, and, the Ivybridge Easter Open saw more wheelchair players enter than in the ladies category!!
Since starting at the Double Bounce sessions, we have also had two very keen players apply for wheelchairs through our grant aid programme and we were delighted to help fund personal chairs to help develop their game.
Some wonderful quotes from players are below:
“It’s great to be part of a happy group who enjoy playing tennis. I suffer from anxiety and the exercise helps me keep mentally and physically fit. It is also great fun and I enjoy the social element too” Suzi
“I am a full-time wheelchair user and I feel free when I am playing tennis and it is great meeting people”. Sarah
“Playing tennis in a wheelchair has allowed me to play the sport of my dreams again which I never thought I would be able to do. Never give up!” Louise