As part of the Brownies programme, frequent physical and sporting activities are undertaken and all the girls are encouraged to take part at whatever level they are able.
The girl guides group for children aged seven to 11 lead by Tracey Payne, recently enjoyed two evenings in the idyllic surroundings of Hurstpierpoint Tennis Club.
Alex Hyman, Sussex number one U14 assisted Hurstpierpoint Tennis Club promote tennis in the community with sessions for Hurstpierpoint Brownies.
Alex fondly recalls beginning his tennis at Hurstpierpoint Tennis Club, where he played from age eight: “I always have special memories of the club and my six year tennis career received the ideal foundations from Turner Tennis. Alex is now in the process of seeking financial support to participate in international tournaments.”
In the next two years, Alex is aiming to compete at the highest level possible to improve his international ranking. He will be playing UK tournaments, ITF and Tennis Europe events.
Toby Lott, Chairman of the Club said: “We are always delighted to be able to help with community projects that meet our objectives and it is great to see the positive impact that Alex’s talks and demonstrations had on the Brownies, not only to encourage the girls to practice and exercise, but it has also provided them with plenty of enjoyment.
“Such activities underline the club’s commitment to continuously improving the benefits it provides to its local community and the development of promising young juniors. We still have plenty to do to encourage more adults to play tennis, and we’re working with our partners at the LTA and Sport England in order to achieve this, but this is an encouraging sign that in a key part of our sport, we are seeing an increase in the number of people who want to play tennis regularly.”
The Brownies were delighted at being given the opportunity to experience and participate in tennis, which is mistakenly considered as the preserve of the elite.
“The sessions were a great success,” said Tracey Payne. “It was a pleasure playing outside, in a safe environment with space for the children to have a hit.
“They all enjoyed it hugely and were very enthusiastic. They achieved a lot simply because they had the opportunity to build confidence on the tennis court alongside friends and people providing help and guidance,” continued Tracey.
“Links with mainstream clubs are very good for the children. We love to work with local clubs and get involved in other activities.
“For the girls, it’s a healthy, positive exposure to a growing sport: for some it may lead to a strong feeling of self-esteem; and hopefully a lifetime of tennis enjoyment.”
The juniors were assisted by volunteers from Hurstpierpoint Tennis Club, who attended the two fun-filled tennis session.
At the end of the two weeks, many of the players were thrilled to receive prizes donated by Sussex LTA.
James Dew, assistant junior development coach at the Club, added: “We were delighted to welcome the Brownies. We had an excellent turn-out from club members eager to help.
“While the Club is members-only, it is still a community facility in the heart of the village and we do what we can to foster good relations with other clubs – we should have the local football club coming for sessions!”
Turner Tennis provides first class junior programmes that cater for all levels of ability. From those children who want to play tennis to keep fit, make friends and have fun, to those who have aspirations to become competitive sports people.
Hurstpierpoint Tennis Club has been driving multiple improvements thanks to its active committee and many volunteers. Some of the great development steps already achieved this year have been: installing floodlights, enhancing ladies social and team sessions, a new online booking system and Cardio tennis to bridge the gap between fitness and tennis. All of which have helped increase participation and interest in the sport.
Further details on the club can be obtained from http://hursttennis.org or via email to: email@example.com
Report and picture contributed by Toby Lott.