Hundreds of vulnerable people will be kept warm this winter through the formation of a formidable new “doubles partnership” comprised of Leonard Cheshire Disability and the Wimbledon Foundation, charity of The All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Randall Close Day Centre in Wandsworth has been awarded £66,420 in new funding from the tournament’s Wimbledon Foundation.
Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Keep Warm, Keep Well project aims to reduce excess winter deaths and tackle social exclusion faced by disabled and older people.
Winter Warming sessions will help those at risk to stay warm in their homes and to better insulate their homes, while Keep Warm packs will provide hats, gloves, soup and where needed heaters and duvets.
The Championships have a long relationship with the charity, going back to the days when Leonard Cheshire himself was an annual visitor to the All England Club.
The former RAF pilot – who founded the charity now known as Leonard Cheshire Disability in 1948 after seeing the impact of the Second World War at close hand – was a useful amateur tennis player in his own right.
He competed against three-time Wimbledon champion Ken Fletcher and entered a Wimbledon seniors’ competition in 1979.
Jordanne Whiley MBE, a reigning Wimbledon and US Open Champion in wheelchair tennis, has been supporting Leonard Cheshire Disability this year.
“Winter and the cold can be very dangerous for disabled, older and vulnerable people and that why I’m supporting this initiative” said the 2016 Rio Paralaympic Games contender.
Randall Close Manager William Gallagher added: “We want to reach out to not just the people who use our services but as many people in the community as we can to let them know we are here to help and can offer free warming packs to those who need them. We are working with Wandsworth Council to save lives.”
Ulrika Hogberg, Wimbledon Foundation & Community Manager said, “Meeting social needs in our local community of Wandsworth is one of the key focus areas of the Wimbledon Foundation. By supporting Randall Close’s Keep Warm, Keep Well project through our Health & Wellbeing fund, we hope to help protect and care for local people at risk during the winter months.”