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Game, set, match! Age UK smashes it out of the park with the launch of its new Walking Tennis Programme for older people

Published on 02 May 2024 05:00 PM

Age UK, with funding from the LTA Tennis Foundation, is proud to launch its new initiative for older people, The Walking Tennis programme, which will take place in communities across England over the next two years.  

The walking version of the much-loved sport is designed to be a gentle and inclusive game and provides a supportive environment for older people of all abilities. The rules of the game include no running or jumping, allowing the ball to bounce twice and the option to play on a smaller court with modified equipment. Walking Tennis provides a fantastic way to stay active while enjoying the social benefits of being part of a tennis community. The sessions are open to everyone, for those who have a backhand like Novak Djokovic or can hit a serve as fast as Serena Williams, as well as those who’ve never played before, or anyone who is simply seeking a more relaxed pace of play!

The Walking Tennis sessions will start being delivered at eight local Age UKs from Spring 2024. These local Age UKs, which include Age UK Shropshire Telford and Wrekin, Lincoln and South Lincolnshire, Devon, Sutton, Calderdale and Kirklees, Waltham Forest, Blackburn with Darwen and South Kent Coast, will implement and oversee the running and long-term viability of the Walking Tennis Programme.

Findings from Sport England’s survey[i] underscore the significance of initiatives such as Walking Tennis, as, over half (51%) of people aged 55 and over who have done no physical activity in the last 28 days have also done nothing throughout the year, and 70% of those age 85 and over do no physical activity at all.

In older people, physical activity confers benefits for the following health outcomes: lower overall death rates, reduced deaths from heart diseases, fewer cases of high blood pressure, decreased risk of certain cancers, reduced instances of type-2 diabetes, better mental health (less anxiety and depression), enhanced brain function and improved sleep quality.[ii]

Paul Farmer, CEO at Age UK, said: "We’re delighted to have received funding from the LTA Tennis Foundation to set up Age UK’s new Walking Tennis programme. We know that keeping active can improve confidence and wellbeing, help older people to live independently for longer, and reduce isolation and loneliness. The Walking Tennis programme will be a great opportunity for older people to get active, try something new, socialise and above all have fun!”

Tom Gibbins, Head of the LTA Tennis Foundation said: “We are pleased to have awarded Age UK funding through our grant making programme. The LTA Tennis Foundation’s mission is to improve lives through tennis, and we are looking forward to seeing the development and impact of The Walking Tennis programmes in the communities they are delivered in.”

For more information about the Age UK Walking Tennis Programme and older people keeping active, please visit

[i] Sport England’s Active Lives Survey 2021-22, published (2023)

[ii] World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour (2020)

Notes to editors:

Age UK

We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well-being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

For more information

Contact the Age UK Media team on 020 3033 1430 during office hours (Mon-Fri 08:30-17:30) or for out-of-hours media support please email 

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Last updated: May 02 2024

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