This is the first article in a new series of features called Club of the Week.
Every week I will interview someone from a disability sports club to find out more about the club and the people who run them.
This week I caught up with Fiona Musgrove who is an assistant coach at VI Tennis Cambridge to find out more about the club.
Club: Vi Tennis Cambridge
When was the club established?
“The club was founded in 2012 and Vision4growth has been running it. It was formed by Alex Wheen and his friends in 2012 after some people experienced VI tennis at an RNIB conference and wanted to run a session in Cambridge.”
Who does the club cater for?
“It’s for anybody with eye sight loss. We’ve got adult’s and children’s sessions running. We are trying to get more children involved. At the moment we have got adults who are B1s who are nearly totally blind right up to B4.
“What we’ve done recently, we’ve actually looked at the way sessions were structured and decided to restructure them so we have one session just for B1 players on two courts which means we can provide more intensive coaching.
“The second session is run just for partially sighted tennis players, sp there is more area for match play.
“The club is open to all age ranges but sessions are run during the day which does inhibit some people from being able to attend so we’re looking at running evening sessions for the partially sighted group. That will start in January.
“Sessions run on Tuesday from 11.30am-1pm and then we have a second session from 1-3.30pm which is for B2 up to B4s.”
What competitions can the club’s players compete in?
“Next year we’re going to be working on delivering some friendly sessions in each region because next year the whole VI tennis structure is changing, so Cambridge will be the East regional tournament for the UK.
“As part of that we’re going to be working with other clubs such as Ipswich which Alex is setting up at the moment.
“We also do our annual tournament for our players but next year that tournament will be ranked with winners going on to the national tournament in London, later in 2016.”
What has been the club’s biggest achievement?
“I think going on the BBC with Mike Bushell was a huge achievement for us. I think the fact we have had quite a few successes in tournaments with our players. Emma Mead won the B1 competition in Cambridge last year.
“For me the biggest success has been to see the development of the players and the confidence they gain.”
What has been the club’s biggest challenge?
“Funding is the biggest challenge. It’s finding the consistency of getting funding and keep delivering what we do.
“The facility at Hills Road is fantastic and the staff are fantastic but it’s ensuring the funding is constant.”
What reasons would you give to encourage people to start playing visually impaired tennis?
“There’s a real social side to it. We all have a cup of tea or we go to tournaments together as a group. Through meeting other people you get that peer support in tennis.
“It’s also challenging because in tennis you’re constantly challenging yourself to get better and to keep yourself healthy.”
Who can people contact if they are interested in joining the club?
“They can contact either myself or Alex. My email is Fionam@vision4growth.org.uk or my phone number is 01992 635600.”