A NORTH Wales tennis club has received national recognition for its support of local refugees — winning the coveted ‘Club of the Year’ at the annual Tennis Wales Awards, held in Cardiff.
Over the last 8 months, Bangor Tennis Club had been working closely with local refugee charity, Pobl i Bobl, to bring regular, free tennis coaching to 15 locally-housed Ukrainian refugees — providing a safe space for life-long tennis fans to get back into the game, while encouraging young players to pick up a racket for the first time.
Alongside the Club’s commitment to encouraging wider participation in the sport, they were also celebrated for their work to welcome more young people to the sport and renovate the Club’s Victorian tennis courts and club house.
Sue Beasley, club Bangor Tennis Club’s Secretary and tennis enthusiast, added: “The tennis court is a place for people to come together and have fun. To enjoy a game of tennis with another person you don’t even need to speak the same language; players young and old can communicate through sport, feeling connected and empowered.
“And, thanks to the support of Pobl i Bobl, we’re proud to be able to offer chances for displaced families to enjoy themselves, for parents to watch their children play, and hopefully feel a degree of normality here in Bangor.”
The programme run at Bangor Tennis Club reflects Tennis Wales’ national commitment to opening up the sport to under-represented communities — with the governing body recently announcing more than £70,000 of funding into a new programme to increase tennis access amongst ethnically diverse communities in Wales.
Simon Johnson, Tennis Wales CEO, said: “Bangor Tennis Club has been championing open and easy access to our sport — and is such a worthy winner of Tennis Wales’ ‘Club of the Year’.
“Inclusivity is at the forefront of Tennis Wales’ vision. Through innovative programmes like the one at Bangor Tennis Club, alongside our own SERVES initiative — which actively takes tennis out into underserved communities — we hope to make tennis accessible to all.”
For more information about the Tennis Wales Awards, and to find a club, coach or SERVES session near you, visit lta.org.uk/about-us/in-your-area/tennis-wales/