New £250k tennis courts open in ShinfieldBy Julie Spencer
October 22, 2012
New courts and a clubhouse at Shinfield Tennis Club were opened by the president of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) in recognition of the club’s commitment to coaching and competition.
The new facilities cost £250,000 and were funded by grants from the LTA, Sport England – Inspired Facilities, Wokingham Borough Council, Shinfield Parish Council and topped up with a club contribution.
The LTA put up £100,000 of the money after the club pledged to increase membership, improve coaching and competitions and apply Sport England's Clubmark status.
Peter Bretherton, LTA president, visited the club on Sunday, September 30, to thank members for their work to develop tennis in the area.
Membership of the club has risen from 60 players in 2009 to 230 today while family membership has increased over the same time from two to 60.
Club chairman Rob Walter said: “The LTA said we had to do four things which were to increase membership, provide coaching for all ages, get accreditation and hold regular competitions.
“We did all this and we able to apply for funds.
“We have a very good coaching programme which means children can have a lesson on a Saturday morning on one court while mum and dad have coaching on another.
“It is a family sport and we take beginners and make them into decent players.
“A lot of rusty players or beginners now join us on club nights.”
Mr Walter said it was the aim of the club to break down the image of tennis as a pastime only for the white middle classes.
He said: “We are family orientated and there is huge diversity among our members.
“We are not snooty – we are not one of those club who say they will see if you are good enough before you are allowed to join.”
Sport England contributed £50,000 towards the floodlit tarmac courts and new clubhouse while Wokingham Borough Council, whose mayor Councillor Bob Wyatt attended the opening, gave £60,000 from developer contributions and Shinfield Parish Council gave them £30,000.
Mr Walter added: “It is unusual to have four stakeholders which shows this is a real community club.”
n To find out about joining Shinfield Tennis Club visit www.shinfieldtennisclub.co.uk.