The LTA and Judy Murray joined forces to help equip 20 young female coaches from under-served communities in Birmingham with the skills to deliver introductory tennis sessions to women and girls.
The event, which was held at the University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness Centre, was the first collaboration between LTA’s SERVES initiative and She Rallies programme, which is delivered in partnership with Judy Murray. MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, Preet Kaur Gill, also visited the session.
SERVES was developed to engage a broader audience in tennis, and aims to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds by giving them the opportunity to take part in regular tennis activities, while She Rallies works to develop a female work force to create more opportunities for women and girls in tennis.
The LTA – the governing body for tennis in the UK – provides pop-up courts and equipment, and works with 160 organisations and ‘activators’ to deliver sessions in over 200 community venues ranging from youth clubs to mosques and temples. 76% of SERVES participants are from the 30% of most deprived communities in the UK, and nearly half the participants are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
Judy Murray said: “I’ve had a fantastic morning working with the coaches. It was great to show them a class in action which gave 27 teen girls a chance to try tennis for the first time. Women and girls are still hugely under-represented in tennis and partnerships like this with the LTA are vital if we are going to encourage more girls to try tennis and more women to get involved in delivering.”
Claire Wheeler, LTA Community Tennis Manager, said: “The LTA wants to break down barriers and change the perception of tennis by opening it up to new audiences.
"It is through initiatives like this and by working with people like Judy that will help us achieve this. The SERVES programme brings tennis to places and people who wouldn’t necessarily think it was for them, and it’s important that we show tennis is a sport for all. It was fantastic to see both our Activators and the school girls who came today inspired by the sport and long may that continue.”
Find out more about She Rallies at www.sherallies.com.