Mersey Bowmen Tennis Club

Completed: 2019
Location: Sefton Park, Liverpool
Region: North West
Other local partners: Sport England, Merseyside Sports Partnership

About the project

Mersey Bowmen is one of the oldest tennis clubs in the country in a deprived part of Liverpool, and were having severe issues with flooding and damp, and the clubhouse was becoming rundown as a result. They applied to VIY for help and, over several weeks, VIY mentors worked with more than 30 local young volunteers to design and install new drainage gullies and also to carry out a much-needed full internal and external redecoration of the clubhouse.

The young volunteers were referred into the project by Merseyside Sports Partnership and Greenbank College, located near to the club. and most of them were first-time volunteers and had never previously been involved with activities at Mersey Bowmen. All of the young volunteers also achieved an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds Accreditation in Painting and Decorating as a result of their participation.

Alan Haddy, Club Manager at Mersey Bowmen, was delighted with the impact of the project: “We’ve greatly benefitted from the VIY project. The VIY staff and mentors were very supportive and provided expert advice in addressing our facility maintenance and repair requirements. VIY also led on recruiting local young people to volunteer and participate, and managed all activities onsite. It’s been very smooth running. The project has also helped to introduce many more young people to our club and to tennis, and to engage them in further opportunities with us, such as the free coaching sessions we provide every Sunday.”

Aside from the facility improvements, this project has been ground-breaking in the connections we have made to young, and perhaps, less advantaged young people at a key stage in their lives. Alan Haddy, Club Manager
The VIY project has been a great platform for our students to learn, develop and tap into skills that they didn’t even know they had. It's been brilliant for them. They have really applied themselves and, in the process, gained skills that they can take into the future. Stephanie Smith, Greenbank College
I wanted to get involved because I’ve never volunteered before and I thought it would help me learn some new skills. I really enjoyed it, particularly the painting and digging the draining ditches. I’ve also improved my communication skills and learnt how to work in a team properly. In the future, I’d like to do something in construction, so this has definitely helped me. VIY volunteer Edward McManus, 18
I’m interested in learning practical skills and I wanted to contribute to my local community. What I’ve enjoyed the most has been meeting new people, and especially people I wouldn’t normally socialise with. I’ve also learnt job skills like timekeeping and working in a team. Everyone on the project was really approachable and friendly, and I always had something to do. I will definitely continue to volunteer in the future. VIY volunteer Amber Lee-Minshull, 17