Staff and supporters at a specialist Oswestry college have rallied together to achieve a county tennis award for their inclusive tennis programme.

Derwen College, near Oswestry, won Disability Programme of the Year at the 2019 County LTA Tennis Awards on Saturday (16th November). The college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) now qualifies for the regional Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) awards which will be announced in March 2020.

A representative from the college was awarded with the certificate and prize by Tennis Shropshire chairman Simon Jones and Tennis Shropshire president Jilly Broadbent. The awards honour those involved in tennis who made a difference to players of all ages in terms of fun, fitness, and inclusivity, as well as success.

Inspirational guests and speakers at the LTA Tennis Awards were ex-servicemen Atlantic Mavericks, who will be rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in less than two weeks time.

Derwen College Sport and Leisure Team have been working with Tennis Shropshire, with funding from British Tennis, to offer tennis sessions and competitions to all students. A Tennis Shropshire coach has provided weekly tennis sessions, and students have been inspired by attending the Davis Cup Competiion and Wheelchair Masters competition.

The college has also organised Derwen College Disability Tennis Festival which takes place in December 2019, with local schools and colleges involved. Derwen students have participated in community tennis events, regional competitions and three students competed in the National Learning Disability Finals in Nottingham last year.

Sport Co-ordinator Steve Evans said he was delighted that the efforts of students, staff and support from Tennis Shropshire had been recognised.

He said: “It’s very much a team effort. We are very proud of what students have achieved in tennis, and have seen some remarkable successes. For some students, that is winning a competition, for others it is simply seeing them pick up a racket for the first time, or building the confidence to teach other students how to play. We are proud to say that more than 100 of our students have been given the opportunity to participate in tennis activities which have encouraged social skills, self-confidence, and health and wellbeing. Most importantly, they’re having fun!”

Pictured: Sport co-ordinator Steve Evans, LTA coach Thierry Piangnee, support worker Paul Wood with some of the students enjoying weekly tennis coaching session.

Pictured: Roy Dixon and Ian Davies from the Atlantic Mavericks and Tennis Shropshire President Jilly Broadbent present Derwen College representative Eluned Watson with the certificate for Disability Programme of the Year.