North Woden tennis club can now live up to its name as the ACT’s hub for wheelchair tennis, after a wheelchair ramp and wheelchair accessible bathroom was installed at the club.
Ever since the club’s wheelchair tennis program was launched around 18 months ago, North Woden has been on a quest to be the leading facility for wheelchair tennis in the nation’s capital.
Thanks to funding from ANZ Bank, the ACT Government and Tennis ACT, the club constructed access ramps onto their deck and into the club rooms and upgraded the toilet facilities and showers to make them more accessible via wheelchair.
North Woden Tennis Club president Terry Lennard, who has been advocating for upgrades to the club’s facilities for the last couple of years, said he felt relieved and elated.
“These facilities are a great step forward for wheelchair tennis players in the ACT, and enables the club to meet our obligations to the players,” he said.
“Without the grants, the disabled access and bathroom facilities project could not have been undertaken at all.
“If people think that putting disabled facilities in will disadvantage your sporting club, you are absolutely 100 per cent wrong. Everyone will benefit from the upgraded facility.
“I feel elated because when you come up with a vision for what your club needs to better serve the community and you start to fulfil parts of this vision, it’s a great feeling.”
The club has now turned its attention to encouraging more wheelchair tennis players to join, which is home to the current ACT wheelchair tennis player of the year Matthew Leggett.
“We currently have 12 people involved in the program but part of the problem with our program so far, is that the players couldn’t go to the toilets here,” Mr Lennard shared.
“The facilities weren’t meeting their needs so to expand on our initial 12 and to keep them here, we needed these upgraded facilities.
“To some of our members, it is just a toilet but for our wheelchair players, it means more than that. So hopefully we will see more join our tennis program now.”
ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry said she was delighted to provide support for this project, recognising the high priority for the club and Tennis ACT in further establishing this hub for wheelchair tennis in the ACT.
”The ACT Government is committed to assisting sporting clubs and associations to grow participation and to get Canberrans active,” she said. “Tennis provides opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate and it is great to see North Woden Tennis Club and the coaches fully embrace this wheelchair program.”
The NWTC Wheelchair program takes place from 10 am-11:30 am on Saturdays with new participants welcome. To find out more, click here.