On Wednesday 2 September the QCF office team and Will Morse, Trustee, visited 245 Hammersmith Road to see our new grantee the Barons Court Project deliver pop up tennis to the homeless and people living with mental health issues. The visit was made even more special by the presence of Hammersmith and Fulham’s Mayor Brown.
The Barons Court Project are the only day centre in Hammersmith and Fulham who support people that are on low income, homeless and/or vulnerable to mental health issues. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the day centre was temporarily closed denying the support workers the ability to monitor and assist those in need. The 4-week pop-up tennis project provided the perfect opportunity for a sense of normality to return.
Vince, a regular participant over the 4 weeks, noted that “during lockdown many of the participants had been starved of both physical activity and opportunities to socialise.” He explained how “the tennis sessions provided a brilliant opportunity for the participants to engage in a fun physical activity, as well as the chance to socialise with old and new faces.” To provide further support for the participants the Foundation also provided a healthy and nutritional lunch. In addition, each participant was also given a care package by the Barons Court Project which included basic sanitary items, clothes, and further nutritional products.
The sessions were run by Mark Bullock, who is very prominent in the local community promoting the inclusivity of tennis. Using the new equipment from Tennis Factory, that the Foundation acquired and subsequently donated to the Barons Court Project so they can use it again in the future, Mark was able to make the activities fun and enjoyable for all involved. During our visit everyone, including the Mayor, tested out some of the brilliant games Mark introduced us to. Vince commented that it was “the variety of the activities that made him want to come back each week.”
With Mark having delivered the project for 4 weeks the Barons Court Project support workers now have the skills and confidence to carry on delivering the sessions in the future. With the equipment donated by the Foundation the intention is for the Barons Court Project to set up a regular indoor session over the winter. While in the future they plan on lending the equipment to other charities in the borough so that even more can benefit from the Foundation’s donation.
Will Morse, one of the Foundation’s Trustees, highlighted that “seeing the wonderful tennis oasis that Mark created only reinforced the importance of these projects and their ability to provide a platform for physical activity, social interaction.”