Pop up tennis for the homeless & people living with complex mental health conditions in Hammersmith
September 15, 2020
As the Barons Court Project drop in centre is currently closed due to COVID19 pop up tennis supported by the Queen’s Club Foundation provides an outdoor focal point where people can come together, enjoy some physical activity, social interaction and be provided with a meal.
Director of the Barons Court Project Michael Angus said ‘Our guests are currently very isolated and have suffered during lockdown as they have been unable to socialise with others. Many are living in small hotel rooms and are lacking exercise. For those whose routine was to come to Barons Court Project a chance to meet other guests and our Project Workers would be helpful and we can pick up other issues they may need support with.’
The tennis project was a way of engaging with people & supporting their physical & mental wellbeing, alongside other services already being offered. Four sessions were held at 245 Hammersmith and were led by Mark Bullock assisted by Metro Mustapha.
Middlesex Disability Tennis lead Mark Bullock commented ‘I have had the idea of utilising tennis in the local community for the homeless for a long time and the circumstances around COVID19 allowed it to become a reality. Thank you to Savraj Kaur from United in Hammersmith & Fulham for connecting me to the Barons Court Project and a huge thank you to the Queen’s Club Foundation for their support.’
On 3rd September the project was visited by the Mayor of Hammersmith and representatives of the Queen’s Club Foundation, Tennis Factory and the Barons Court Project.
Mayor Daryl said “It was great to join Barons Court Project and meet representatives from The Queen’s Foundation at 245 Hammersmith for their Pop Up Tennis. This wonderful initiative allowed people experiencing homelessness and those living with mental health conditions to come together, play tennis, and reduce social isolation. I am delighted that the equipment will be available to other charities to use across the borough”.
Will Morse, a Trustee of the Queens Club Foundation joined in the tennis activity and commented "The Queens Club Foundation is proud to support the Barons Court Project. Sport can have such a positive impact on both our physical and mental wellbeing both of which are being tested during these uncertain times. Seeing the wonderful tennis oasis that Mark has created only reinforced the importance of these projects and their ability to provide a platform for physical activity, social interaction and some very impressive volleying skills! We look forward to continuing to work with Mark, Barons Court Project & Hammersmith and Fulham Mayor Daryl Brown to create sustainable programmes to support the most vulnerable in our community."
Tennis Factory equipment was chosen to support the Project which enabled a circuit of fun games and activities to be created, providing a visible and attractive focal point to draw people in, enabling social distancing and is easy to clean post the session.
Nikki DeBoo from Factory Eleven commented ‘We designed the Tennis Factory Rally Stations back in 1996 with the purpose of being able to set up engaging Tennis activities wherever you want to play, no court needed! To visit the Barons Court Project today in London to see everyone having great fun, playing and socialising together in this urban space was a perfect demonstration of that vision. We wish everybody involved in this impactful Project much continued success in the future.