Somerton Park Tennis Club, Langman and Ley Elite Tennis Academy, Grange Lawn Tennis Club and Salisbury Tennis Club are four of 16 clubs set to share in more than $60,000 funding as part of the AO Community Grants program which invests funds back into diverse and inclusive tennis communities around Australia.
In March 2018, applications for the fourth round of AO Community Grants opened with all affiliated tennis clubs, coaches and not-for-profit organisations invited to apply for funding of up to $5,000 to help run tennis programs that promote inclusion and diversity with a goal to improve the health and wellbeing of participants.
Somerton Park Tennis Club will use their funding to continue their Junior Blind Tennis Program that has run for the past two years. Intra-school and after school programs have been developed, with initial discussions underway to create a South Australia versus Victoria junior friendly tournament in the future.
Langman and Ley Elite Tennis Academy began their Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Participation Project in 2017 and funding will provide players with the opportunity to continue in the sport, transitioning from coaching into competition tennis.
The Grange Lawn Tennis Club Move It Refugee Tennis Bridging and Development Program aims to provide young refugees an opportunity to integrate into the wider community through tennis lessons and competitions. This also enables them to promote the program to others within their communities.
Salisbury Tennis Club’s Multicultural and Disability Tennis Programs will expand to cater for a wide variety of players. Children will have the opportunity to take part in an ANZ Tennis Hot Shots program before transitioning to competition play. Parents will also be coached using the basis from the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots program to help them reinforce their skills at home.
“Tennis SA is thrilled to have had four clubs receive AO Community Grant funding,” said Tennis SA CEO Steven Baldas.
“We have a strong focus on making tennis an inclusive and diverse sport and this funding will allow our clubs to continue their fantastic work in this space.”
Since introducing the AO Community Grants program in 2016, Tennis Australia has provided 89 programs run by not-for-profit organisations, clubs and coaches with more than $310,000 in funding.
Tennis Australia Head of Inclusion and Diversity Kerry Tavrou believes a focus on community is essential to ensuring physical activity and tennis remains welcoming, accessible and inclusive for everyone.
“The applications we received for round four of the AO Community Grants program were of a very high standard highlighting the strength of the community in helping improve the tennis landscape to be even more inclusive.
“For this current round of the grants, the focus was on providing more opportunities and access to underrepresented groups, including: Indigenous Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, LGBTI people and communities, older adults aged 65+ and people with disabilities.
“We hope with this funding, these programs can continue to provide increased access and sustainable participation opportunities for even more participants in our broad and diverse communities,” Tavrou continued.