The Queen’s Club Foundation is thrilled to announce our new grantee Metro Blind Sport. They have been supporting blind and partially sighted people since 1973, and were instrumental in bringing over sound ball tennis from Japan over 10 years ago.
Visually impaired tennis is adapted from the full court version of tennis and uses a smaller court marked out with lower nets and tactile lines, and an audible ball so players can hear it bounce. Depending on a player’s degree of sight loss they may have between one and three bounces of the ball before returning it back to their opponent
The Foundation will be supporting Metro Blind Sport to run two weekly subsidised sound ball sessions open to blind and partially sighted people (aged 16 upwards) of any sporting ability at the Islington Tennis Centre. The grant will cover the costs of the sessions for 12 weeks, including the cost of new sound balls and expert coaching delivered by LTA accredited coaches. To ensure these sessions are accessible Metro provide a meet and greet service at the nearest tube station.
Whilst many of the participants play for fun the more competitive players are given opportunities to train and to partake in local, regional and national competitions including the Metro Tennis Tournament and Tennis Foundation’s National Visually Impaired Championships. In 2018 two players represented their countries, in the second International Blind Tennis Tournament in Dublin with Metro member Paul Ryb securing first place in his sight loss category (B3).
Metro Blind Sport is embedded in the local community, and is reliant on local volunteers to help them run the sessions. Since 2018 over 32 students from local schools, as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Awards, have volunteered learning valuable communication and interpersonal skills whilst working with blind and partially sighted people.
The Queen’s Club Foundation is delighted to supporting the continuation of this project and to be benefiting the lives of disabled people in London. We wish Metro Blind Sport all the best for the continuation of their project and we look forward to visiting later in the year.