27 June 2017

Tennis courts across Sheffield have been revamped for all to play on, thanks to investment from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Parks Tennis.

In what is the biggest investment in tennis in parks for any city in the country, courts at nine sites have been created, or else brought back into use after becoming, in many cases, derelict and unplayable.

Parks Tennis, a community interest company, now manages the sites at Graves, Thorncliffe, Forge Valley School, Westfield School, Concord, High Hazels, Hillsborough, Millhouses and Weston Park. A further funding application has been submitted to resurface two courts at Bingham Park.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “For too long, tennis courts in many of Sheffield’s parks have been unloved and, due to a lack of funds, they haven’t been adequately invested in.

“This partnership with the LTA and Parks Tennis has changed all that. Now, you don’t need to be a member of a club to book a session and play a game on a high-quality court. Tennis is available for everyone, in parks across the city, in neighbourhoods in north, south, east and west.

“This programme is unique to Sheffield and represents the biggest investment of its kind in the UK – which is something of which I am very proud.”

This agreement with Parks Tennis follows an 18-month-long pilot programme in Sheffield which has seen more than 18,000 tennis court bookings made and hundreds of coaching sessions delivered during that period of time.

The new tennis programme is for all players, regardless of age or ability, and offers many benefits including:

  • Online booking to reserve courts in advance and avoid wasted trips or waiting around
  • Low ‘pay and play’ court prices, with concessions for under 16s and over 60s
  • Great value Sheffield Parks Tennis Passes for occasional, regular or frequent players, from just £1 a court all year round (and even less for children in the summer holidays)
  • Low-cost community coaching for juniors and adults, including family-friendly Tennis For Free sessions on Saturdays at Hillsborough Park
  • Local Tennis League pairing people up for friendly matches in the park
  • Extended hours of play, from early morning to late evening

Jess Redfearn, Parks Tennis’ Community Tennis Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to manage parks tennis in Sheffield.

“Our mission is to improve lives through tennis and, we will work tirelessly with our team of community coaches to deliver low-cost sessions for all that are safe, fun and active.

“Our varied programme fits perfectly with Sheffield’s Move More physical activity plan and where better to enjoy fresh air fun and fitness than in the UK’s leading Outdoor City?”

Paul Sheard, LTA Regional Tennis Participation Manager, added: “Sheffield has been at the forefront of regenerating community tennis and Parks Tennis has played a key role in this, deservedly securing the LTA’s North Region Aegon Community Tennis Award in 2016.

“Without a new approach, opportunities to play tennis in the park would eventually have ceased to exist in Sheffield and we are very pleased that we now have a long-term agreement that will help safeguard the future of parks tennis here for generations to come.”

For further information, and to get on court, visit the website here or call Sheffield Parks Tennis on 0114 349 1198.