Huppert is challenged to blind tennis as club struggles to survive
Cambridge MP Julian Huppert faced a tough challenge on the tennis court after joining a game with blind players.
Julian met members of VI Tennis Cambridge at the city’s Hills Road Tennis Centre and soon discovered that, despite their sight loss, they were an impressive force.
But the club, which has seen demand grow for the sport, is struggling to survive as its grant funding has run out. It only has enough money to stay afloat for the next few weeks
“These players were an inspiration,” said Julian. “They had developed amazing skills on the court and really put me through my paces.
“It was great to see people enjoying a game which proves a challenge to even the fittest player. I learnt some valuable skills and really enjoyed it.
“I hope they will be able to get the funding support they need to continue. It would be a real shame if this club, which is clearly very popular, did not survive.”
The players at VI Tennis Cambridge, run by Vision4growth CIC, have played for over a year using a unique sound ball imported specially from Japan. They are encouraged to play to Lawn Tennis Association rules despite their sight loss and 18 players joined Julian on court to show their skills.
Fiona Musgrove, Director of Community Services at Vision4growth said she wanted to see more investment coming from the Lawn Tennis Association for the sport.
“The benefits of regular exercise and socialisation have been well- recognised in the group,” she said. “The retention of players and the increase in numbers bear testimony not only to the dedication of its session coordinator and co-director of Vision4growth CIC Alex Wheen, but the understanding of all those involved in V I Tennis Cambridge.”
Vision4growth recently organised its first tennis tournament at Hills Road Tennis Centre where four out of the six players from Cambridge taking part received medals.
On Friday, October 4 Vision4growth CIC attended a forum looking at the future of VI tennis nationally at the National Tennis Centre, London as part of a national VI tennis tournament. British Blind Sport and the Lawn Tennis Association are asking players for their views on the game.
Vision4growth is looking for sponsorship or funding to help develop VI Tennis Cambridge further. Anyone who can help or would like to become involved in V I Tennis Cambridge can email the group at:[email protected] or www.vision4growth.org.uk or follow it on Facebook.