A smashing time was had by all when Shropshire’s Derwen College hosted its inaugural tennis festival.

The specialist college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) welcomed more than 20 students from Severndale Specialist Academy in Shrewsbury and Coleg Cambria, in Wrexham to the Derwen College Disability Tennis Festival.

The festival’s aim was to make tennis accessible to all using tennis skills in fun games and challenges, engaging all students of all abilities.

Tennis Shropshire representative and former chairman Bob Kerr attended, bringing along Tennis Factory equipment – fun and colourful equipment to play tennis-themed games.

LTA coach Thierry Piangnee, who runs weekly coaching sessions at Derwen College, also shared his skills and expertise with students.

Sports co-ordinator Steve Evans praised everyone who took part and helped make the college’s first festival such a success.

He said: “We ran a range of tennis-related activities, turning traditional tennis on its head to find ways to engage all the students. Everyone enjoyed taking part in activities and having a go, playing together supported by professional tennis coaches. It was lovely to see everyone of all abilities pick up a racket and play. We are proud to have organised such a fun event promoting fitness, social skills, self-confidence, team-building and fun through tennis.

“Derwen College is all about inclusivity and our sports and leisure activities are no exception.”

This was the college’s first tennis festival and is part of Derwen’s commitment to tennis as part of the college’s packed sports and leisure programme.

The college recently won Disability Programme of the Year at the 2019 County LTA Tennis Awards. 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.

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 Competition and Wheelchair Masters competition.