Exeter Tennis Centre's coaching programme teaches children from across the region.

Tennis Centre welcomes local children

Exeter Tennis Centre, on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus, welcomed almost 300 local children on 2 April for its first Schools Tennis Festival of 2014.

Children, aged four to eight, from eight local primary schools were invited to the Centre throughout the day to meet the coaching staff and take part in a range of games-led activities designed to develop coordination, balance and agility.

Exeter Tennis Centre’s Development Officer, Julie Williams, organised the event and explained how the success of the day highlights the importance of community engagement in sport. She said: “It’s been a really good day today, and really promising to see so many young players picking up a racquet and getting involved.

“The hope is that by getting children to engage with and enjoy tennis at an early age we can inspire a future generation of players.

“We regularly travel to local schools to deliver our programme, but days like this are a really good opportunity to get children up to the centre, meet the whole team and experience tennis in a purpose-built facility.

“A lot of these children won’t have been to the centre before, so it’s great to be able to show them around and get them excited about tennis.

“Today has been primarily about fun and inclusion, but we’ve also been keeping an eye out for children with particular aptitude in certain areas, who we can invite onto our elite programmes.”

Exeter Tennis Centre is affiliated to around 20 schools in the Exeter area, coaching in P.E lessons and during after school clubs.

Wendy Densham from Stoke Canon School said: “It’s been a really good day, we’ve really enjoyed it.

 “It’s important for the children to take part in physical activity and being affiliated to the Tennis C Centre means that everyone can have  a go at a reasonable price.

“Julie comes to our school to coach year’s one and two, and it’s nice to bring the children all here together, with all the instructors giving support.

“We’re lucky to have a Tennis Centre here [in Exeter], especially with the weather, where everyone can have a go. The coaches have been really good, joining in and having fun with the children.”

The Schools festival is the start of a busy season for the centre who are running activities for children throughout the school holidays and will be beginning their summer coaching programmes at the end of April.

Julie added: “Last summer was a great year for British Tennis; Andy Murray winning Wimbledon inspired a lot of people to try tennis. We want to re-ignite that passion by making it as easy as possible for people to come, pick up a racquet and get playing.”

Date: 7 April 2014