Canning Town school pioneers tennis club

A Canning Town school is pioneering a community tennis club to get young people from Newham to Wimbledon!

Matt Perry, the head of Physical Education at Rokeby School, has spearheaded a new project with Al Ledder, a current top ten player on the over 45s tennis circuit, to get disadvantaged children from urban backgrounds playing the sport which has been seen as an elite game by some.

Naming the community club The Love Tennis Academy, the pair were able to officially launch the club at the Canning Town Recreation Ground on Prince Regent Lane on Saturday September 22 noting that the turnout was promising for the future of the club.

After making bids for funding from the Lawn Tennis Association, the Mayor of London, Pro-act East London, and Sport England, the day attracted children as young as four to adults in their sixties to get together and swing a racket during the afternoon.

Mr Perry said; “The first two sessions have been a great success and it is brilliant to see the community coming together through tennis.”

Mr Perry and Mr Ledder are hoping to grow the club into an affordable and free-structured coaching programme for all young people and adults to help promote a healthy lifestyle and get people playing tennis from the local area.

The launch took place over two weekends with the second event on Saturday 29 including more tennis in a mini-Davies-Cup-style competition, live dance performances and a prize-giving ceremony.

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Once the organisation has grown, it will be inviting new members and coaches to take part but for now the club is simply spreading its enthusiasm for the sport to the pupils of Rokeby School in Barking Road and surrounding community.

In three years time, The Love Tennis Acadmey hopes to provide a ‘performance pathway and framework’ for young people between the ages of three and 25 from urban disadvantaged backgrounds to play at the highest level and, by collaborating with the Lawn Tennis Association, Newham Council, and the University of East London to get coaches into local primary and seconddary schools.

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