Local communities are being encouraged to apply for funding from a multi-million pound pot set aside for making tennis more accessible.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has announced a £250m package for improving community tennis facilities in what it describes as the sport’s ‘biggest ever investment initiative’.
Called Transforming British Tennis Together, the initiative is designed to make courts across the country more useable and accessible to everyone over the next ten years.
The LTA has committed to investing £125m itself and it plans to unlock a further £125m through match funding from community networks.
The association aims to use the funds to deliver 750 newly covered indoor courts, over 4,000 newly floodlit courts and nearly 3,000 court entry systems across the country over the next decade.
Currently, over a third of possible playing hours are lost due to rain as only 7% of Britain’s 23,000 courts have covers, and only one in seven park courts have floodlights.
Booking and gaining access to a court also often relies on old, analogue systems, making it difficult to organise a game.
The new funds will pay for a 50% increase in the number of covered and floodlit courts, which will boost available playing hours. They will also allow online booking and entry systems to be installed.
The £250m will also go towards refurbishing courts, clubhouses and other social spaces, and to support innovative and creative ideas that meet local demand.
‘At a time when more and more people are enjoying the resurgence of British tennis, we’re focused on getting the next generation of players on court and having fun,’ said Alastair Marks, participation director at the LTA.
‘Transforming British Tennis Together has been designed to tackle some of the most obvious challenges to doing that, and we’re excited about supporting communities across the country who we know are just as passionate about giving more people the chance to play tennis as we are.’