Recently, club secretary Kath, secured further funding for NPTC’s Community Inclusion Program, which is supported by Tennis Victoria. The ACE Grant 2016 Round 2 branched out to incorporate a collaborative partnership with the Farnham Street Neighborhood Learning Centre (FSNLC), so that NPTC could extend its 2015 CIP program to continue supporting junior players from disadvantaged backgrounds in addition to targeting women into tennis.
Since its inception in 2016, the CIP program has offered a structured coaching program for eight youth participants (7-16 year olds) to introduce them to tennis for the first time. For one of these participants, Moukhtar, this coaching provided him with the confidence and skills to play as an emergency in one of our junior teams. He is keen to continue playing after the program continues and not only did he enjoy the fun and skill development, but he also recognises its long term benefits when he said, “to hold on to what I have learned during my past lessons in tennis. This will be important skills that I will keep for life, not for being a professional but for health and fitness sakes.”
The second branch of the grant was to target women from FSNLC and these fell into two groups. The first women group was adult students who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) and the second group catered for the staff that work and support these adult students. The program involved four staff and six students and both groups enjoyed 10 coaching lessons at the Club. The women from the staffing group had all played tennis in their youth and the experience has led them back to a sport they once enjoyed. Their experience is summed by one of their comments, “to be out in the fresh air after a day in the office, and to play with work colleagues away from the normal professional context is socially rewarding and relaxing…. I hope that once the ten lessons are over, I can continue playing regularly to maintain fitness and further develop my tennis skills.” Not only one, but all are now keen and in the process of joining NPTC and playing more regularly with their colleagues. The CALD students have all expressed a wish to continue with comments such as “meaningful”, “an opportunity to meet amazing people, play in team as well as providing fitness and develop a confidence” and “to realize that any age to learn any skill is not too late”. Enabling another round is in the process of organization around their individual schooling schedules.