Work is set to begin on a scheme to revamp tennis courts in parks across North Tyneside.
Eleven courts including two at Whitley Bay’s Crawford Park, four at Richardson Dees Park in Wallsend, and five at Souter Park in Monkseaton are to be renovated after the council secured £174,000 from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the national governing body for tennis.
The funding is part of a nationwide £30m investment to breathe new life into poor or unplayable park tennis courts for the benefit of their communities.
Improvements will include resurfacing and repainting, new fencing, and access gates with electronic keypads installed at each venue; access codes are provided once a booking is made via the Clubspark website. In line with the funding agreement, there will be a charge of £3 per hour to use the courts and the money generated will be reinvested to ensure the courts are well-maintained.
Work will begin at Richardson Dees Park on Monday 6 March and the refurbished courts are expected to be ready for the summer season.
Councillor Sandra Graham, Cabinet Member for Sports, Leisure, and Libraries said: “Park tennis court facilities are vital community assets that can help widen the impact of the physical and mental health benefits that being active through tennis can bring. Our courts are well-used by the community, but they require some investment, and I am delighted that we have been able to secure this amount from the LTA to give them a new lease of life.
“We are hopeful that the investment will attract more residents to use our tennis courts and provide some assurance to tennis players that they can book a court before playing.”
As well as providing modern facilities, the council will introduce free coaching sessions led by Active North Tyneside, catering for over 50s, women and girls, people with disabilities and mental health needs, families, and for young people at risk of offending.
Julie Porter, Chief Operating Officer at the LTA, said: “We are delighted to be working with North Tyneside Council to improve their park tennis facilities and provide more opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and get active. This investment is part of the UK Government and LTA’s Parks Tennis Project and will mean that courts will be available for people to use for years to come. We will also be working closely with North Tyneside Council and Active North Tyneside to ensure that the local community have a range of accessible opportunities to get on court and open up our sport to many more people.”