Vol­un­teers’ recog­ni­tion is smash­ing

The Chronicle - - Grassroots Sport -

TWO ten­nis vol­un­teers from the North East are demon­strat­ing how the sport in the re­gion is buck­ing the na­tional trend of a gen­der gap in sports vol­un­teer­ing.

Wendy Glasper and Rachel Doyle have won na­tional ac­co­lades for their work in ten­nis and say in­vest­ment in fa­cil­i­ties and op­por­tu­ni­ties for more peo­ple to play can change lives across the re­gion.

Glasper was named Vol­un­teer of the Year at the 2017 Bri­tish Ten­nis Awards and re­ceived a Pride of Light Award from Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May in recog­ni­tion of her work with a suc­cess­ful net­work of vis­ually-im­paired ten­nis ses­sions in the re­gion.

She set up and runs the VI ten­nis pro­gramme, with weekly ses­sions held in the re­gion off the back of Glasper’s first VI club, which runs at Sun­der­land Ten­nis Cen­tre and the Northum­ber­land Club in New­cas­tle.

Doyle be­gan vol­un­teer­ing as part of the award-win­ning Northum­bria Stu­dent Vol­un­teer Pro­gramme and feels her univer­sity ex­pe­ri­ence has been hugely en­hanced by the range of op­por­tu­ni­ties pro­vided.

She said: “Once I be­gan vol­un­teer­ing I found a new mo­ti­va­tion for my course and new ideas about what to do af­ter univer­sity.

“With more ten­nis fa­cil­i­ties and pro­grammes avail­able around the re­gion it is ex­cit­ing there can be more op­por­tu­ni­ties than ever for stu­dents like me to vol­un­teer.”

Joanna Cun­liffe, Re­gional Par­tic­i­pa­tion Man­ager for the North East re­gion at the Lawn Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “Wendy and Rachel’s ded­i­ca­tion demon­strates the im­por­tance of vol­un­teers to ten­nis in the re­gion.

“We are very proud of the awards they have achieved.

“It is a great ex­am­ple of how ac­cess to good fa­cil­i­ties and mak­ing it easier for peo­ple to play in­creases par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

Rachel Doyle (cen­tre) and Wendy Glasper (sec­ond right ) with the LTA’s Jo Cun­liffe (sec­ond left) and vis­ually-im­paired ten­nis play­ers at­tend­ing Glasper’s Vi ten­nis pro­gramme at the Northum­ber­land Club

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