Somerset Council and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have partnered together to invest in and refurbish public park tennis courts in Taunton, Yeovil, Ilminster and Crewkerne. In total, five park tennis venues will be renovated, with investment of £300,000 helping ensure that quality facilities are available for the local community. Somerset Council is also pleased to be partnering with Taunton Town Council, Ilminster Town Council and Crewkerne Town Council to bring about these improved facilities for Somerset.
The project is part of a nationwide investment by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, delivered by the LTA, to refurbish public tennis courts across Great Britain, and open up the sport to many more people. This investment will see thousands of existing park tennis courts in poor or unplayable condition brought back to life for the benefit of communities across the country through renovation works, and improved court accessibility with new gate-access technology and booking systems.
Park tennis courts are vital in providing opportunities for children and adults to get active, delivering significant physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits to participants. Accessible facilities in parks are particularly critical to opening up the sport to those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and women and girls.
In addition to investment of £270,000 from the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, £30,000 will also be invested by Somerset Council.
Alongside the investment, Somerset Council will also work with the LTA and town councils to deliver a range of activity across the park sites. It is hoped that this will include organised free park tennis sessions for all ages, playing levels and experience where equipment is provided, meaning that people will not need someone to play with or their own racket. Somerset Council also hopes to establish Local Tennis Leagues at the parks which would provide friendly, sociable, opportunities to get active through local competition.
The park venues being renovated are: Vivary Park and Yeovil Recreation Ground which will be managed by Somerset Council, Ilminster Recreation which will be managed by Ilminster Town Council, Severalls Park which will be managed by Crewkerne Town Council and Taunton Green which will be managed by Taunton Town Council. The courts will be available to book online including via the LTA website https://www.lta.org.uk/play/ making it far easier to find and book a court or activity.
All courts and sessions at all sites will be available to book online via the LTA website and booking platform ‘Clubspark’.
Work at the sites in Taunton and Yeovil will start in May and be completed in a 6-8 week timeframe with works at the sites in Crewkerne and Ilminster to follow.
Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture at Somerset Council, said:
“We’re pleased to be partnering with the LTA on upgrading our tennis courts.
This project will see them being resurfaced and painted, secure gates installed and booking systems put in place to enhance the experience of accessing the sport for the area.
These facilities are so important to communities, and I hope it will encourage residents of all ages and abilities to get outdoors, get active and play tennis.”
Julie Porter, Chief Operating Officer at the LTA, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Somerset 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 Somerset Council 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.”
Work will start at Vivary Park Tennis Courts on 22nd May 2023.
For more information about this work visit https://www.somerset.gov.uk/community-leisure-and-tourism/parks-and-open-spaces-services/