We recently had the opportunity to visit the pop up tennis program in Hammersmith run by the Barons Court Project, for the homeless.
Barons Court Project is a centre in the Hammersmith and Fulham borough who support people that are on low incomes, homeless or who are vulnerable to mental health issues. They help to meet basic needs for people including showers, food and laundry services. Also provided are a range of wellness activities like yoga, guitar lessons, art workshops, cooking classes and sporting activities.
Throughout the summer months, pop up tennis is one of the activities that people can come along to in the local area. We had the opportunity to attend and help out at a session and it was great to see a variety of people come along to enjoy something new. A lady shared with me that she'd seen people play tennis before at nearby courts but she'd never been able to play, so was glad for the chance to give it a go!
Inclusive Sport Development Advisor and tennis coach, Mark Bullock, offers his time to come along and run activities and create a fun environment for people to pick up a racquet. Mark said, "It’s great to see that the pop up tennis for the homeless and people with complex mental health issues taking place in Hammersmith for a second year. It’s brilliant to see people coming together, having a light meal and playing tennis together, contributing to their physical and mental well-being."
It was a great reminder of the freedom I have to even own a racquet and have the option to play tennis whenever I want to and to not take that for granted. I loved being a part of this day, and seeing other people try a new sport that they'd never been able to try before. Interacting with people who come from different backgrounds, have varying life stories and circumstances, is an eye opening experience and is something I hope to do more of.
If this is something you'd be interested in helping out with, be sure to check out the Barons Court Project and get in contact. If you're not based in this area, be sure to search for similar opportunities in your local area and see what you might be able to do to make a difference.