The programme, which is funded by the private bank, gives local primary school children access to free tennis lessons for 10 weeks of every year. The aim is to introduce the sport to youngsters and improve their tennis technique in a fun environment.
Coach Joel Camp said there was some great skill and potential within the island’s primary schools. ‘It has been fantastic to see the children, some of whom possibly haven’t had the chance before, participate in ball skills, learn coordination and open up an avenue into tennis,’ said Mr Camp. ‘The generosity of ABN AMRO in funding the project is hugely important to our club and we hope that many future primary schools will continue to benefit. Children will undoubtedly have been inspired by seeing a Brit win Wimbledon and that can only be good for the sport.’
The lessons have been held at four local primary schools – Mont Nicolle, La Moye, Les Landes and St Peter. At the end of the programme children are given the option to continue playing tennis by attending the Les Mielles Mini Tennis Programme on a Saturday morning.
La Moye Primary School has had 100 pupils involved in the scheme this year. Headteacher, Jacqueline Bell-Cook, said the sessions had proved a great success. ‘As a Healthy School we promote exercise and sport throughout the school and encourage pupils to engage with local sports opportunities and sports clubs,’ said Mrs Bell-Cook. ‘While we currently provide a range of sports opportunities, and succeed well in local tournaments, we do not currently provide tennis, other than through this valuable opportunity. The children have loved playing and learning tennis skills with the coach, Joel Camp, and have really looked forward to their weekly sessions.’
ABN AMRO, which is the longest established Continental European bank in the Channel Islands, has supported Les Mielles Tennis Club for more than seven years, funding the club's growing junior schemes including its unique primary school outreach programme.
Phil Harvey from ABN AMRO said that the private bank was delighted that the partnership has proved so successful.
‘The junior tennis programme has grown and developed over the last seven years and we are proud of what Joel and his team have accomplished. It is our pleasure to have sponsored the programme again this year and look forward to perhaps seeing some tennis stars of the future as a result,’ he said.