Tennis for people with intellectual disabilities

An exciting new development this year has been the introduction of tennis for players of all ages with special needs.  There are 40,000 people with an intellectual disability in Ireland and up to now they haven’t had access to tennis.

The project which is entitled “Enjoy Tennis” has linked tennis clubs in all four provinces with local service providers to people with an intellectual disability such as St Michael’s House, Carmona Services and Festine Lente.

The project has ambitious goals

–       To give 400 people the opportunity to play tennis across Ireland in 2015 and 2016.

–       To achieve the situation  where special needs tennis becomes a normal part of our sport in all clubs

–       To have tennis recognised as a Special Olympics sport in Ireland in time for the Mexcio Special Olympic games in 2019.

–       To train 400 coaches in special needs tennis coaching.

To date in the pilot programmes we have 130+ players who are playing tennis in twelve clubs  in Leinster,and also clubs in the other three provinces.  These players have successfully completed the coaching programme, and we have 40 coaches who have completed the Tennis Ireland workshop in the area.

Our commitment is to provide players and the service providers with the long term opportunity to play tennis – and ideally for some of them to go on to become members of our clubs.  The clubs involved in the pilots include Wicklow, Greystones, Co Wicklow, Shankill, Templeogue, Donnybrook, St Mary’s, St Peters School, Glasnevin and the National Tennis Centre in DCU.

The next phase of the programme will involve a further 120 players

Pictured below are players from one of the Programmes Open Days at Donnybrook TC and also a picture from the coaches workshop which took place at the National Tennis Centre and was led by Breeda Claffey, Diane Cahill, Peter Farrell and Anna King (Lakers).