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Tennis courts in city parks to reopen after £420k transformation

A Humberstone park tennis court, shown before and after transformation

TENNIS courts that have benefitted from a £420,000 transformation are being reopened at seven parks across the city.

In total, 28 park-based tennis courts have been renovated ready for summer, spread across Evington Park, Humberstone Park, Monks Rest Gardens, Knighton Park, Aylestone Hall Gardens, Abbey Park and Rushey Fields. Improvements that have been made include new asphalt surfacing, repainting, replacement nets and new entrance gates.

Leicester’s renovation programme has been carried out in partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), with funding from the Government, the LTA Tennis Foundation and Leicester City Council.

A partnership with a UK-wide, not-for-profit community company called We Do Tennis will ensure the courts are maintained, and will see a range of activities phased in across the park sites, including tennis coaching and weekly organised, free sessions for people of all ages, where rackets will be provided.

Under the new arrangements, We Do Tennis will also run a booking system for the courts. They will be bookable at a cost of £42 a year for a family of six, or on a pay and play basis of £6 per session. This follows a successful pilot at Victoria Park which has seen 382 household memberships sold and over 2,000 casual court bookings made.

The new booking system is being implemented gradually across the seven sites from 3rd June, with the introduction of online booking available through the LTA website. Income from the booking system will go back into the upkeep of the courts.

The same concessions currently on offer in city council leisure centres will apply, meaning that city residents with disabilities, or who are on means-tested benefits, will not be charged to book.

We Do Tennis and the city council will also work together to provide free park tennis sessions, offering an hour of free tennis each week at each of the seven sites, with equipment provided. Free sessions will typically be offered on a Saturday or Sunday at 10am.

Volunteers who would like to support the free sessions can sign up on the free park tennis website. No previous tennis experience is necessary.

Sean Atterbury, director of neighbourhood and environmental services at Leicester City Council, said: “We know how much people value the tennis courts in our parks, and this investment and partnership with the LTA and We Do Tennis will ensure that these facilities are well-maintained and of a high quality for years to come. This partnership will also provide free sessions to encourage more people to enjoy tennis.”

The renovation programme is part of the biggest-ever investment in park tennis facilities across Britain, with £30million being spent to transform and update more than 2,000 courts. The project is being delivered by the LTA to encourage more participation in the sport and provide vital opportunities for children and adults to get active.

Julie Porter, chief operating officer at the LTA, said: “After months of hard work, we’re delighted to see park tennis courts across Leicester officially back open to the public, and in better shape than ever.  Public tennis courts are such vital facilities for getting active and we want as many people as possible, of all ages and abilities, to pick up a racket and enjoy playing tennis.”