Fingal clubs take part in ‘Enjoy Tennis’ initiative
ONE of Ireland’s largest providers of community-based services for children and adults with an intellectual disability St Michael’s House has partnered with Tennis Ireland to provide the ‘Enjoy Tennis’ programme, which aims to promote the inclusion of players of all abilities in tennis. The programme, which has gone from strength to strength, was originally designed to include those with disabilities in their local clubs, but due to its success, 2016 marked the launch of Tennis Camp Weekends, a form of respite care.
This year’s Tennis Camp Weekend at the National Tennis Centre in DCU and Fingal clubs were heavily involved.
Anna Shakespeare, CEO, St. Michael’s House said: ‘Our partnership with Tennis Ireland solidifies St. Michael’s House Strategic plan of Building community, supporting independence.
‘With ‘Enjoy Tennis’ and the Tennis Camp Weekends, service users are choosing to get away for a break with their friends, doing something that they are interested in, in a community based environment.
‘They are accessing opportunities for personal development, such as building confidence, encouraging independence and socialisation.
‘We are united with Tennis Ireland is advancing strategies for inclusion. We very much look forward to continuing and strengthening our relationship with Tennis Ireland now and in the future.’
This year, players from Adult Autism Services also took part in the programme. Playing tennis since May 2016, the players have been making incredible progresses with the support of Tennis Ireland coaches and St. Michael’s House staff. This group have also been involved in demonstrating their tennis skills during disability inclusion training from tennis coaches.
Sarah Hewitt, Leisure Centre Manager, St. Michael’s House said: ‘Partnering with a sporting organisation like Tennis Ireland has resulted in a model that meets a range of needs and allows for the natural development of a person’s sporting hobby. This is an opportunity for players to demonstrate their sports skills and their abilities. We are grateful and delighted to work with Tennis Ireland and the ‘Enjoy Tennis’ camps.’
Pictured at the Tennis Ireland and St. Michael’s House Tennis Camp Weekend at the National Tennis Centre in DCU are (L:R): Diarmuid O’donovan, St. Michael’s House Staff, Adult Autism Day Service; Mark Ennis (Raheny) SMH service user; Johnny O’farrell (Santry) SMH service user; Liam Lawless (Swords) SMH service user; Jim Watt , from the Ulster Branch of Tennis Ireland and Director of Coaching in Malahide TC; Christopher O’loughlin (Donabate) SMH service user; Hugh O’loughlin (Donabate) Tennis Coach, Malahide TC ; Dylan Ryan (Artane) SMH service user; Oisin Fulham (Clontarf) SMH service user.
Diarmuid O’donovan, St. Michael’s House Staff, Adult Autism Day Service and Liam Lawless (Swords) SMH service user
Hugh O’loughlin (Donabate), Tennis Coach, Malahide TC; playing with Mark Ennis (Raheny) SMH service user