Fin­gal clubs take part in ‘En­joy Ten­nis’ ini­tia­tive

Fingal Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

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

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