On Saturday 22 July 2017 Cambridge charity Power2Inspire is holding a charity Inclusive Tennis Festival celebrating inclusion and getting disabled and non-disabled people playing sport together.
The “Cambridge Inclusive Tennis Festival” is being organised in conjunction with the Cambridge Tennis Academy and will be held at Chesterton Sports Centre from 12.00pm-2.00pm. It is the first event of its kind in Cambridge and hopes to challenge preconceptions that disability and mainstream sport must be kept separate. It is anticipated that over 100 tennis players will take part in the day, with disabled and non-disabled people playing together.
Research carried out by the English Federation of Disability Sport shows that 64% of disabled people want to play sport in mixed ability settings. Despite this disabled people often resort to playing purely “disability sport” or exercising alone. According to Papworth Trust, 72% of disabled adults report facing a barrier to sport.
Power2Inspire was founded by John Willis, a local disabled man and Cambridge University graduate, after competing with two non-disabled friends in a triathlon relay in 2013. Since then Power2Inspire has raised over £50,000 for charity and spoken to over 7,500 school children about sport, inclusion and ability.
Cambridge Tennis Academy is a local tennis provider affiliated to the LTA with people playing on a weekly basis. The Festival of Inclusive Tennis has been organised in close collaboration with Rob Ellis, Head Coach.
Rob Ellis, Founder of Cambridge Tennis Academy said:
“We are very excited to be working with Power2Inspire to deliver the first Cambridge Festival of Inclusive Tennis. We hope this will be an annual event that shows, no matter what your age or playing level, or whether you disabled or able bodied, everyone can enjoy playing tennis. Not only has Great Britain produced some of the World’s best players in the Open game, such as Andy Murray and Johanna Konta, we can also be proud to follow our disabled athletes at the top of the game, such as Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley. The adapted equipment and court sizes have also made Tennis one of the most inclusive grass roots sports in the UK. We hope to see you on court.”
John Willis, founder and CEO of Power2Inspire, said: “Last year I played tennis for the first time. I never thought I would, but after 7 lessons there I was on court with a superstar! Wow. Dylan Alcott, gold medal winner at Rio in the Quads wheelchair tennis, Australian Paralympian of 2016, was my partner in my very first tennis match: what a thrill. Thanks to Addenbrooke’s prosthetics clinic and CBAS, a Cambridge start up that designed the clamp to hold the racket, I was able to play. I was so inspired I want everyone – regardless of age, infirmity or impairment – to have the opportunity to give tennis a ‘go’. And where better than with Cambridge Tennis Academy at Chesterton Community College. I urge you to come along.”
Sally Gibson, Inclusive Sports Festival Co-ordinator at Power 2 Inspire said “the tennis festival will enable everyone to come together at a time when everyone is into tennis because of Wimbledon, and will change people’s perceptions to inclusive sport”