Come and Try Days- An Innovative Australian-first Vision Impaired Tennis Program
Organization Sponsor: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation
Special Come and Try days provided an important step in developing opportunities for people who are blind or sight impaired to participate in tennis. BSV believes the strengthening relationships
of the partners involved had led to an even greater outcome. “Each partner has contributed resources, bought different strengths and skills to the program, shared costs as required
and shown a commitment to seeing the program through. We held our program at the indoor courts at Melbourne Park over six Friday evening blocks on three occasions over the year.
Anybody who has a vision loss or whose vision impacts on them participating in
regular tennis is eligible to be part of the program. BSV says that many totally blind
people have never held a tennis racquet or been on a tennis court. This program enables them to develop skills associated with tennis movements such as serving, forehand and backhand. “Learning these movements is also a really valuable way for the participants to develop directional hearing. These exercises are really new and exciting for many people who are blind and sight impaired. The social interaction with other participants and volunteers is also a wonderful experience for everyone involved,”
Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Participation in Community Sport and Active Recreation (PICSAR) Program
Victoria University has become an important new partner in the program. Students recruited from the university are volunteering on Friday nights. BSV said Victoria University is such an eager partner that they have
been in the unusual position of having too
many volunteers on some occasions! The
students’ involvement has added greatly
to the development of the program, providing an exciting new mix of ages and cultures.
This project is part of a VicHealth funding program known as PICSAR, which aims to increase participation levels in community
sport and active recreation amongst people with disabilities and those from low socioeconomic, Indigenous and
new arrival communities.
Approximately 40 blind and sight impaired
people have participated in the program over the last two years. The program and the partnership continue to go from strength to strength.
While there has been tremendous goodwill from the start, the true commitment was highlighted when each partner turned up to the Friday night sessions.
Blind Sports Victoria is working with sport and recreation providers to increase the opportunities for people who are blind or sight impaired to be involved in physical activity and recreation.