Sports Minister Stuart Andrew is encouraging Brits to give tennis a go after announcing the transformation of 1,500 park tennis courts across England, Scotland, and Wales.
Andrew visited the Davis Cup in Manchester this weekend to shine a light on a £30million investment by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation which is being delivered by the LTA to bring thousands of park courts back to life.
The Sports Minister visited Buile Hill Park in Salford, one of 1,500 public tennis courts across Britain that have so far been transformed as part of the project.
The Parks Tennis Project is aiming to get more than half a million more people playing tennis in parks in the coming years, and builds on the UK Government’s ‘Get Active: a strategy for the future of sport and physical activity’ action plan.
The visit took place as a record number of fans descended upon Manchester for the Davis Cup at the same time as 40 parks across Greater Manchester have already received a £1.7million investment into grassroots tennis facilities through the LTA-delivered Park Tennis Project.
Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Having easy access to high quality sport facilities is vital to staying fit and healthy.
“These park tennis courts in Salford are just a few of the 1,500 recently renovated thanks to the £30 million partnership between the Government and the Lawn Tennis Association.
“We’re giving thousands of people across the country more opportunities to play tennis and getting people active in previously underserved communities.”
The Sports Minister and LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd hailed the completion of 1,500 park courts across Britain as they joined a family tennis session in Salford and spoke to members of the community who were enjoying newly refurbished courts.
The visit took place on the morning of the final day of the Davis Cup Finals Group stage in Manchester, where a new record was set for the largest spectator audience at a Davis Cup match in Britain, where over 13,000 fans watched the Lexus GB Davis Cup Team take on France.
LTA CEO Scott Lloyd, said: “We are delighted to have transformed 1,500 park tennis courts across Britain as part of this investment in park tennis facilities by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation.
“We’re continuing to work with hundreds of local authorities across the country to transform more park tennis courts, making it far easier to find a court and book, and ensure a range of engaging activities and free tennis sessions are available for people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in.
“It’s great to see how courts like these in Salford will benefit local communities across Britain, and help provide opportunities for many more people to pick up a racket, get on court, and enjoy playing tennis.”
The investment reflects the UK Government’s commitment to getting an additional 3.5 million Brits physically active by 2023 by opening up more opportunities to play tennis on high quality upgraded public tennis courts.
The LTA is supporting local authorities and providers to ensure that a range of activity is in place across refurbished park courts, including free weekly tennis sessions.
This includes Free Park Tennis, a new programme being rolled out by the LTA on Saturday or Sunday mornings at 10.00am. Sessions are delivered by volunteers, are free and accessible for all with equipment provided, giving people the opportunity to get active and meet new people through tennis.
All 1,500 completed courts and other across Britain are bookable on LTA PlayTennis with digital gate access systems installed across sites, to make finding, booking and getting onto court as easy and secure as possible for tennis players across the country.
It follows a 43% increase in participation in 2022 to a total of 4.7 million adults, and a significant increase in children playing annually to 3.6 million. The LTA aims to attract 500,000 more annual park tennis players following the completion of the project.
This major investment is designed to support the Government’s commitment to levelling up sports provision across the UK, where over £400 million is also being used to support the roll-out or refurbishment of multi-sport grassroots facilities across the UK between 2021 and 2025, and £60 million is being invested into local swimming pools in England this year.