Based in County Dublin’s southernmost village, Shankill Tennis Club is an inclusive, community-focused organisation, who with lots of hard-working members and strong support from Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council, have really gone the extra mile in its efforts to make the wonderful sport of tennis accessible to the entire community. Whether playing social or competitive tennis, Shankill Tennis Club aims to be a welcoming place for all. One of the ways they have done this is by offering low cost membership to socially disadvantaged groups.
The club undertook a big commitment when it built an indoor centre, funded by our players, so that it would meet the needs of players with various special requirements; players with disabilities, blind and vision impaired players, players with acquired brain injury, wheelchair users, players suffering from dementia and also players with intellectual disabilities and autism.
In undertaking this inclusive approach, the club successfully began working closely with local disability services, and this led to the creation of a National Programme called ‘Enjoy Tennis’ for players with up to nine specific disabilities, a programme which has grown over 6 years and now has 1,200 players playing tennis across 80 Irish clubs.
As well as benefitting the club’s new players, this project has greatly increased awareness and integration of people with a disability into club life demonstrating the core values of equality, respect and dignity which are centric to this programme. It is typical to find volunteer members, junior players and Enjoy Tennis players on court together regularly.
We are so proud to support a club offering such a wonderful service in their local community, as well as having such a meaningful impact on a national level.