Working in partnership with the LTA, the charity aims to eliminate participation barriers around tennis, ensuring that as many people as possible can enjoy the benefits of the sport allowing it to become ‘Tennis for All’.
And whilst access to sport is at the core of what the charity provides, it also brings together young people, families and older people, many of whom are disadvantaged, together in their local park, with all activities safely hosted by local volunteers and coaches.
Founded in 2004, part of the charity’s innovative approach has been to utilise tennis courts in local parks, many of which without their engagement would have been lost forever.
Offering free public access to 129 park courts across the UK, Tennis For Free’s approach to saving community courts has been truly ground-breaking, allowing many communities to enjoy free tennis in a social setting.
Unfortunately, like many other charities, COVID-19 has left its unsavoury mark upon Tennis For Free, with the charity unable to take advantage of a number of fundraising opportunities across the summer months.
But despite this, Charity Head Patrick Hollwey is excited and optimistic about the prospect of the national partnership with GiveToLocal.
“I’m really excited by what this partnership with GiveToLocal can offer grassroots tennis,” said Patrick.
“Working with the LTA, Tennis For Free provides opportunities to people from more deprived backgrounds.
“There are barriers that are in place stopping people from playing sport and we want to challenge and break down those barriers.
“Additionally, COVID-19 has presented us with difficult challenges. We had to cease all activities at the end of March and the peak period for outdoor sports is between April to September.
“So we’re really looking forward to kicking off this partnership with GiveToLocal as it gives us a chance to look forward.”
And Tennis For Free co-founder Tony Hawks is also in agreement about the partnership with GiveToLocal.
“We’re a very community focused charity,” said Tony.
“We aim to provide an activity for all, regardless of gender, background or ethnicity.
“We want to bring all sections of a community together which is obviously something that GiveToLocal looks to do too.”
Tennis For Free is a charity backed by a host of recognisable faces, with Pat Cash, Judy Murray and Stephen Fry amongst their supporters.
The partnership will see the two organisations working together to deliver a sustainable, accessible future for everything the charity provides.
And Colin Stromsoy, Director of Strategic Partnerships at GiveToLocal, echoed the Tennis For Free’s words of optimism.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that GiveToLocal are entering into a partnership with Tennis For Free,” said Colin.
“It’s a truly outstanding charity that has done so much over many years to break down barriers to physical activity and social inclusion through their tennis for free sessions.
“Tennis For Free is a charity whose core values resonate heavily with our own.
“The work that Patrick and his team have done since founding the charity back in 2004 has seen more opportunities provided to people from all over the UK, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle.
“The whole team at GiveToLocal is looking forward to playing our part in the next chapter of this great charity and helping to ensure more people can continue to benefit from the terrific work they do right across the country.”
This week, GiveToLocal opened up its service to tennis clubs across the UK, taking the number of sports the organisation supports to 15.
And GiveToLocal CEO Neil Gardiner is enthusiastic about the potential power and reach of the new national partnership.
“To be able to form a positive working relationship with such a respected charity like Tennis For Free is an incredibly positive development for us as an organisation,” explained Neil.
“Positive physical activity should be available to anyone and everyone irrespective of how much money they have. To be able to play our part in helping more people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds access the services Tennis for Free provide is a real source of pride for our team.
“It also comes at a great time as we’ve recently added the sport of tennis to our family of sports, allowing tennis clubs nationwide to be able to benefit from GiveToLocal.
“So for us to roll out our service to tennis clubs and be able to partner up with the leading charity in the sport at the same time is incredible.
“This new partnership fills me, and the entire team here at GiveToLocal with an immense amount of pride. We can’t wait to get started!”
For more information on Tennis For Free, click here.
To register your club’s interest in GiveToLocal, click here.