A Visit from the All England Tennis Club

Magic Bus was thrilled to welcome members of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) to the Delhi Gymkhana Club in November, providing members of the AELTC an opportunity to see for themselves the impact that the Magic Bus & Wimbledon Foundation programme has had on children living in poverty in Delhi. It was also an opportunity for a few games of tennis!

Led by the All England Club’s own Head Coach, Dan Bloxham, AELTC members took part in activities with children from some of the communities where Magic Bus and the Wimbledon Foundation currently work. Thanks to Dan’s infectious energy, the children connected with him from the word go, and enjoyed a memorable two hours learning tennis skills from one of British Tennis’ most influential figures.

While sharing all sorts of tips and advice Dan also tested their skills, and was impressed with the children’s eagerness to learn, their sense of discipline both on and off the court, and with their confidence as they teamed up with other AELTC members, including Czech tennis legend Jan Kodes,
champion of both Wimbledon and the French Open.

Coming from communities that struggle to offer even the most basic facilities, the children left their challenges behind and walked onto the court with nothing but a positive attitude and their passion to learn. Their respect for the opportunity and their willingness to collaborate were a positive reflection of the kind mindset that Magic Bus works to instil in all the children it works with.

As Dan himself said: “We were delighted today with how the children behaved, their attitude, their characters were lovely. The respect they showed each other was something that we need to learn more. For the members of the club, this would be the best part of the tour.”

The event was a testament to the success of Magic Bus’ partnership with the Wimbledon Foundation in Delhi, which now enters its 9th year and continues to grow, reaching more children in need of support.

As well as using tennis to deliver the Magic Bus curriculum to both children and young people, community based tennis sessions are taking place that are helping our young volunteers and mentors earn accreditation as tennis coaches, some of whom have even gone on to take it up as a career, coaching in clubs and schools. To date, over 4,000 children and young people have taken part in the programme, and we’ll soon begin training teachers to deliver the special curriculum during school hours too.

This has been a fantastic partnership for Magic Bus with a funder who has been really engaged and keen to build on the grant year on year. In 2015 the grant was £25,000 for a year and as we enter the 9th year of funding the scale and ambition of the project has exceeded anything that we thought possible at the beginning, with a new grant for £100,000 being provided to further grow the programme and make an even bigger difference for children and young people living in poverty in Delhi.