Teen Talk Harwich is a programme that engages young people from the area in a tennis group, where they can learn new tennis skills and develop important social skills.
Teen Talk offered a structured and safe social environment for young people to have the motivation to leave their homes and continue to improve their skills and build friendships. This initiative aimed to broaden opportunities and introduce young people to new experiences, creating a sense of safety within the group. Many of the male and female participants in the group experienced social anxiety prior to their sessions, and with the help of their peers, they were able to overcome the barriers they face, working with others to get active and have fun.
Active Essex were able to support this group through funding that ensured they could buy equipment to support a tennis activity. The use of the tennis courts has been transformational for the group because it changed the views of the young people and gave them a renewed relationship with physical activity. They were able to feel safe in the environment which resulted in improved fitness levels and increased social interactions.
The success of the sessions has gone further than just providing tennis as an activity. As the activity progressed, staff noticed a significant improvement in the physical coordination of the young adults. It was heartening to see them actively participate. Staff observed participants becoming more independent, and the sessions provided a great opportunity for them to practice being self-sufficient.
Two of the participants have also applied for the Harwich Essex Pedal Power scheme, and are interested in getting more involved in cycling, as they have found a love for physical activity and sport. In turn this demonstrates that the group has motivated the young people to become more physically active. With the initial reason for setting up the activity to reduce social anxiety, Teen Talk have truly inspired participants to find their active, and increased the number of positive attitudes associated with sport.
It's important to take time to reflect and understand the learnings from work undertaken, in order to focus on ways to improve in the future.
Enhancing social skills and independence among participants