Elena Baltacha Foundation Serves Up Tennis Treat for Zest Young Adults

There was a real tennis themed treat for the young adults of Zest this July, as The Elena Baltacha Foundation visited the service’s Zest X-Change evening to host a number of tennis activities during the height of Wimbledon excitement.

Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice.

Taking place on Tuesday 5 July, there were lots of smiling faces to be seen and fun to be had as the young adults interacted and played a variety of tennis games kindly organised by The Elena Baltacha Foundation.

The Elena Baltacha foundation was set up by former British tennis player, Elena Baltacha, before she sadly passed away from liver cancer in 2014. Elena’s vision was to give more children from deprived and disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to play tennis by offering free and subsidised coaching.

The visit followed the success of love-all auction, held in 2021. The online auction raised funds for women’s cancer charities through the WTA, The Murray Play Foundation, through Judy Murray, and local charity GeeWizz children’s charity and Zest – which is part of the St Elizabeth Hospice Group – and sees the independent Suffolk charity work closely with children’s hospices and other services to ensure young adults have a smooth transition into adult care.

Nino Severino, Chairman of The Elena Baltacha Foundation (EBF), says: “It has been wonderful to develop a very special relationship with Zest. The EBF team really enjoyed attending this terrific Wimbledon themed event with the young people who are cared for by the amazing staff and their volunteers.

“It was fantastic to see the joy achieved through tennis and how the session developed lots of valuable skills, but more importantly, how we all experienced laughter, happiness and camaraderie.

“We are really looking forward to our next visit in the autumn, providing another opportunity to spend more time with our Zest friends.”

Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice.

From its industry unique Short Breaks, which allows young people to take time out from being at home while also providing families with vital respite, through to its parent support group and monthly X-Change evening social group for patients, Zest enables young adults with challenging conditions to fulfil their aspirations – whether this is to manage symptoms, access opportunities in the community or reduce loneliness by enabling them to have fun with friends.

Helen Finlinson, who is Head of Inclusion and Development at St Elizabeth Hospice, a role which sees her lead on the development of the hospice’s young adult service Zest, says: “A big thank you to the team at The Elana Baltacha Foundation for visiting our Zest X-Change evening to host a fantastic experience for us to enjoy.

“It was a pleasure to see our young adults enjoying a range of activities, getting into the spirit of Wimbledon and just having fun with their friends. We are all really grateful for EBF’s support.”

To find out further about Zest, visit https://www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/zest/

As a result of the development of new services such as the Zest Days and Short Breaks, the Zest team are looking to recruit more Zest Care Assistants to join the Zest community and help make a difference to the lives of the young adults and their families supported by the service.

To find out more about this opportunity please visit http://www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/about-us/about-us/work-for-us/vacancies/ for details or get in touch with the team via 01473 707032 or by emailing Helen Finlinson at helen.finlinson@stelizabethhospice.org.uk

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