A Caerphilly tennis coach has been praised for his work in giving children from deprived areas in the town the chance to pick up a racquet and try the sport for the first time.
Tennis Connect Wales, a voluntary organisation that seeks to grow the sport in deprived parts of the country, has highlighted the work of Jonathan Morgan, Head Coach at Caerphilly Tennis Club, as part of its new #UnstrungHeroes campaign, which recognises the selfless work of individuals involved in taking the sport into working class communities.
Steve Milne, founder of Tennis Connect Wales, said: “Tennis has a real problem in that it’s seen as some kind of elite sport. It’s perpetuated by the fact that only those who can afford private club fees have access to the facilities needed to play it. The few public tennis courts we have in places like Caerphilly and the South Wales Valleys are increasingly left to rot, before being turned into car parks, or converted into yet more five-a-side football pitches.
“That’s why the work Jon is doing – delivering free coaching in schools, and offering low-cost family sessions at Caerphilly Tennis Club – is so important. And he’s reaping the rewards for his proactive work in schools, as the number of children taking part in his coaching programme at the club is growing all the time.”
Jonathan, 22, said: “I’ve formed links with two primary schools to offer six weeks of curriculum-time coaching – reaching 500 children – and I hope to do one-off tennis days at other local schools in the summer term.
“We continue to host many free events at the club too – like open days and taster sessions – throughout the year to give people a chance to try tennis for free.
“Last year we launched a ‘Family Fun Friday’ initiative, where Friday nights at the club are just for families to come to the club and play tennis together. We’ve found it to be a great entry route into tennis, and at a cost of just 50p per player, it works financially for whole families to enjoy time together while being active.”
For more information visit www.tennisconnect.co.uk.