During this year’s championships, the world once again experienced the power of sport to change people’s lives and bring people together. Few had heard of Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff in June, but the spectacular run of the 15-year-olds at Wimbledon thrilled audiences around the world and was even backed by former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Meanwhile, Coco’s mixed doubles partner, Briton Jay Clarke, who used to walk miles to practice as his parents did not own a car, hoped his story would inspire others from the working class and from minorities to join in the sport.
Launched in 2016, The Wimbledon Foundation’s Get Set, Get Active Fund aims to help locals of all ages and abilities participate in physical or athletic activities. Grants are given to local projects that not only improve people’s physical well-being, but also promote their spiritual well-being by learning new skills, getting to know new people and thus empowering communities.
Twenty-six local groups and clubs active in the districts of Merton and Wandsworth have recently received grants totaling more than £ 50,000. These cover a diverse spectrum from skateboard sessions for young people to golf sessions for over 60s.
Helen Parker, director of the Wimbledon Foundation, said: “With our Get Set, Get Active Fund, we want to ensure that people of all ages and backgrounds in our community have the opportunity to participate in some form of physical activity.
The local groups and clubs are doing a fantastic job, and we hope that people will be inspired to try something new and to take advantage of the benefits that this exercise can bring. “
The Wimbledon Foundation has also encouraged applications from organizations that address social issues and help disadvantaged people to improve their quality of life. Universal Language uses their scholarship to run football courses for newly arrived immigrants and refugees, while the Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club buys badminton rackets and customized equipment to enable disabled people to participate in racquet sports.
The Merton group of the Multiple Sclerosis Society will use their scholarship to offer Zumba sessions and specialized physical therapy training for MS sufferers. Dr. Alice Thacker, MS Merton Group Coordinator said: “Thanks to this grant from the Wimbledon Foundation, people with MS with all disabilities will move on to Latin American, classical and pop beats to improve their overall fitness and vital cardiovascular function , “
The Wimbledon Foundation has also awarded £ 10,000 to the Merton Schools Sports Partnership (MSSP) and Enable Leisure & Culture, who work at Wandsworth Secondary Schools. MSSP will use the resources to improve elementary school swimming skills, while Enable Leisure & Culture will introduce zumba, pilates and yoga sessions to encourage female students to improve their fitness levels.