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Wimbledon comes to Burnt Oak as disabled residents take up sensory tennis

Sensory Tennis sessions at Burnt Oak Leisure centre are the result of partnership between charity Sense and Barnet leisure provider Better

A group of disabled people in Burnt Oak who are playing sensory tennis at Burnt Oak Leisure Centre
Sensory tennis players in Burnt Oak – (Credit – GLL)

Disabled people in Burnt Oak have been celebrating Wimbledon fortnight by taking part in a new inclusive tennis programme devised by a national charity. 

Sense is working with a local tennis coach to run ‘sensory tennis’ sessions at Burnt Oak Leisure Centre in partnership with Barnet’s leisure service provider, Better.  

Sensory tennis is a version of tennis devised by Sense to make the sport accessible to people with complex disabilities. It involves breaking the game down into different parts based on individual abilities – to help boost coordination and confidence. 

Coach Jon Wildman of Get Set 4 Tennis, who is delivering the sessions at Burnt Oak Leisure Centre, said: “The sessions have been really beneficial for the participants in terms of getting out into the community and experiencing a new activity.

“They’re all making great progress which is having a positive impact on their life outside of the sessions. As a coach, it’s really rewarding to see the participants progress over the weeks and months.”

Katie Sawyer, of Sense said: “People with complex disabilities can face so many barriers when trying to access sport and physical activity, but with the right support people with complex needs can get active, try new things and enjoy sport. Every tennis session we put on is tailored and person-centred.  

She added: “Sense is very grateful for our partnership with Barnet GLL*, allowing us to bring sensory tennis to the local community, and also to coach Jon. The people who play tennis with us are making excellent progress, developing not only their tennis skills, but their communication, confidence and mobility – and most of all are having fun!”

*Burnt Oak Leisure Centre is run by GLL under the ‘Better’ brand. 

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