Spotlight on: Alfriston Satellite Club

Alfriston School is a day and boarding school for girls between the ages of 11-18 who have a wide range of special educational needs. It is the host site of a Tennis Satellite club which was established last year using funding that Leap received from Sport England as well as funding from the Bucks LTA. Both organisations worked closely with Denise Knibbs, PE coordinator at Alfriston School and Karen Atkinson, tennis coach from Halton and Beaconsfield tennis clubs to initially get the club up and running and a year in it is now completely self sufficient.

 

Denise, told us how the Satellite Club has improved the girls behaviour

“The satellite club provides the girls with something to focus on outside of school. They are committed to coming to the club and while they are here they are completely focused on what they are doing.”

 

The club not only helps the girls cognitive abilities but also their physical abilities as Elizabeth, the clubs longest attending player, told us

“I have cerebral palsy which affects the right side of my body, playing tennis has helped me to strengthen this side”

 

The satellite club has also encouraged the girls to continue to play tennis at local clubs and with family members. One of the clubs members, Lucy, told us about how she now plays weekly with her dad and always wins. Talking to the girls you could tell that they were proud of being part of the satellite club and how much they had improved. Karen told us of the change in one of the players Nina, who when she started had no control and can now play a rally, Nina’s response was

“I try my hardest and I have improved”

 

Karen summed up exactly how she feels about the satellite club and how important it has been for the girls:

“I have complete admiration for these girls who keep playing regardless of the challenges they face with having a disability”

 

Click here to see photos of the Alfriston Satellite club in action.