Time for a big thank you to one of our funders! The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, founded by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, made a £5,000 donation to the Tennis Foundation for 2017 to help our work of transforming lives through tennis.
As Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, the Tennis Foundation uses donations such as this to make a real difference to the individuals we aim to support. This particular donation has been invaluable in helping us to deliver two Tennis Foundation projects – our Coach Grant Scheme for people with a disability, and individual coaching sessions for our up-and-coming junior wheelchair tennis players!
Below are some of the stories of people who have directly benefited from this funding support from the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation – stories that bring to life the difference a donation to our work can make to people’s lives…
Coach Grant Scheme
The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation’s funding in 2017 has provided the opportunity for 15 people with a disability to be awarded a grant towards a coaching qualification, with the aim being for the Tennis Foundation to make an additional 10 grants before the end of the year. Here are the stories from three of the successful applicants:
Andrea Weston (wheelchair user)
Since receiving the grant Andrea has:
- Supported the delivery of tennis sessions within venues in Cornwall.
- Became a top 100 player in Women’s wheelchair tennis (last year she was 142).
- Been named one of the UK’s ‘Women of the Year’ and invited to the 2017 Women of the Year lunch in October.
“The grant and subsequent coaching qualification has improved my communication and confidence. I also feel I have gained more respect around my local tennis club”.
Ciaran McCarthy (deaf)
Since receiving the grant Ciaran has:
- Delivered tennis festivals for over 75 young deaf participants.
- Become a part-time coach at Batchwoods Sports Centre.
“I feel more confident on the back of my Level 2 tennis coaching qualification and hopefully it will help Batchwoods to set up disability tennis activity at the centre”.
Marc McCarroll (wheelchair user)
Marc competed in the wheelchair tennis events at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympics and has recently retired from the sport. His goal is to become a tennis coach and the grant scheme has helped him to achieve this. Since the grant for his Level 1 tennis coaching qualification Marc has:
- Completed a Level 3 tennis coaching qualification allowing him to run his own sessions.
- Delivered Tennis Foundation wheelchair tennis camps and Push2Podium (talent ID) festivals.
- Supported the GB Invictus Games Wheelchair Tennis team who will be competing in Toronto this year.
Junior Wheelchair Tennis Players
The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation’s funding has enabled the Tennis Foundation to give every junior player selected for the National School Games Finals in September funding towards an individual coaching session. A total 22 players have been selected for the event, an Olympics style competition, which, for many, may be the first step to becoming an elite player of the future. Each player will represent their ‘home nation’ – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
An individual coaching session will help players calm their nerves, and gain valuable skills for the Finals. Many of their parents cannot afford individual lessons, so this will have a huge impact on the players, some of which have been only playing for one year.
Quotes from players’ parents of players from the Tennis Foundation’s junior wheelchair tennis programme:
“He had the most amazing time (at the British Open Junior Wheelchair Tennis Championships), and so did we, as first tournaments go that was pretty impressive…he said he had the best time of his life!”
“He had a great experience (at the British Open Junior Wheelchair Tennis Championships). He only got in a chair for the first time at last year’s Come and Try session by complete chance, and we never expected a year on he would be competing.”
The funding from the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation has both resulted in more disabled people becoming coaches and starting a career in the sport, and supported the development of junior wheelchair tennis players. The Tennis Foundation is extremely thankful for this support and how it has helped us to transform people’s lives through tennis.
The Tennis Foundation is Great Britain’s leading tennis charity. If you would like to find out more about how you can support our work to transform people’s lives through tennis please click here.