With the Australian Open currently taking place, there is no better time to learn about one tennis-orientated charity working hard to ensure that all children have access to opportunities, regardless of where they come from.

“Talent is spread evenly across the country but sadly opportunity is not.”The Tim Henman Foundation

The Tim Henman Foundation, founded by retired British tennis player Tim Henman, aims to ensure that disadvantaged young people and those living in deprived areas are able to pursue their goals and passions, and are not excluded from accessing any opportunities. 

The charity is centred around tennis and believes strongly in the importance of sport for the wellbeing of young people, but also provides young people with access to workshops centred around life skills, STEM and the arts. 

Levelling the Playing Court: The Tennis Charity Creating Equal Opportunities for All Young People
Children involved in the charity’s sports workshops. Photo: Tim Henman Foundation.

Working within the most deprived communities, the charity provides opportunities for young people through various initiatives, including its Outreach Programme. This focuses on engaging disadvantaged primary and secondary school students in sports and STEM workshops, helping them develop valuable skills and participate in activities they may not have had access to before. 

The Tim Henman Foundation has also implemented a Special Needs Programme, supporting children with disabilities by ensuring that they have access to similar opportunities, and has recently been involved in a Cycling Programme, providing equipment like exercise bikes for young people as part of this initiative. So far, the foundation has provided the equipment and facilities to help 1038 children with special needs.

Scholarships are also granted as part of the charity’s mission to ensure that young people are not held back from achieving their goals. Through the Scholarship Programme, funding is provided to students in deprived areas to support them in the pursuit of their interests, both inside and outside of school.

One student previously involved in this programme, Robin Underwood, told the trust that it enabled him to develop his passion for horse riding, saying: By using the scholarship I’ve been able to ride horses of varying levels of difficulty, make new friends and learn new skills and techniques to help me achieve greater things. In addition, I’ve been educated by equine specialists to improve my knowledge and encourage my aspirations of becoming a veterinary surgeon”.

Without the funding from these scholarships, it is likely that many of the children involved would be unable to access such important workshops and experiences. The charity ensures that no young people are excluded from valuable opportunities, meaning they can continue to do the things they love and, like Robin, strive for even more success in their areas of interest.

The incredible work of the foundation was continued throughout the winter with the “Feeding Your Spark” initiative, which saw the charity send out more than 2000 food packages to children who would normally receive free school meals.  The initiative also focused on increasing participation in sports in these communities as, according to the foundation, students in disadvantaged areas are 20% less likely to participate in sports than those with higher household incomes. Given the importance of sport for the wellbeing of young people, the charity is working hard to bridge this gap.

Levelling the Playing Court: The Tennis Charity Creating Equal Opportunities for All Young People
Food packages being distributed by the charity. Photo: Tim Henman Foundation.

With 46,761 young people supported so far, and over £2.4 million raised, the Tim Henman Foundation is one example of a charity using tennis to create real change, and it is set to continue providing this crucial support throughout 2022 and beyond, ensuring that all children are able to pursue their ambitions.

You can learn more about the Tim Henman Foundation and their mission here.

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