Innovative partnership offering free tennis sessions to 18-25 year olds with mental health illnesses

An innovative partnership offering people with severe mental illness in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin free tennis sessions to improve their health is expanding following new grant funding.

The successful programme, which launched in January 2023 as a partnership between Tennis Shropshire and Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) has received £8,340 from The Community Foundation. The funding, part of a transformation of community mental health care in the county will specifically benefit young adults aged 18-25 experiencing mental health illnesses.

Those who register will be able to take part in a free weekly session with an experienced tennis coach. The new programme launches on 2nd May at 5-6pm at The Cathie Sabin Community Tennis Centre in Shrewsbury. To take part, participants have to meet the following criteria:

  • Be aged between 18-25 year olds
  • Be diagnosed with a mental health illness

The programme has proven immensely valuable for participants, offering a space where they are supported to have access to a sport that may have been previously inaccessible to them.

A service user who took part in the initial pilot scheme said: “We have a positive coach that is good at team building, and it’s great exercise because it feels like you’re not doing any. I’ve been since day 1, it is brilliant.”

Fiona Jones, Chair of Tennis Shropshire said: “After the success of last year’s Tennis Shropshire Programme, we're delighted to receive this additional funding. This funding will allow us to reach more young adults struggling with mental health issues.

“Tennis has proven to be beneficial for mental and physical wellbeing, and we're eager to extend this support to more individuals in our community. We believe in the power of sport to improve mental health, and we're committed to helping and reducing health inequalities in our communities.”

Claire Parrish, Service Manager for MPFT’s Adult Community Mental Health Services in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin said, “We are happy to continue to work with Tennis Shropshire and offer tennis to our community and those with a severe mental illness. The programme for the last 12 months has been a huge success, and now being able to widen our scope and offer to 18-25 year olds specifically is very exciting. We are delighted to be able to extend the programme and improve health inequalities in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.”

The sessions are free of charge, with all equipment provided. A coach will be on hand to support and guide participants.

Registration is open to people aged 18-25 years old, and have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. To register, email

Page last updated 16 April 2024