TENNIS in Haringey received a substantial boost today after the new tennis facilities at Albert Road were unveiled thanks to a £300,000 grant from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) with support from Sport England, and funding from Haringey Council.
Former French Open champion and BBC presenter, Sue Barker, and former US Open finalist, Greg Rusedski, attended today’s opening of the refurbished Bounds Green venue, which has been held up as a model for inclusive tennis.
At the opening, the site was also awarded ‘Beacon’ status from the Tennis Foundation in recognition of its high quality, affordable community tennis programmes as part of AEGON Parks Tennis.
The Tennis Foundation has worked in close partnership with Haringey Council, inspirational coach and site manager Robby Sukhdeo, and the LTA, to drive forward the development as part of its wider work across the Borough and London to increase access to tennis.
The grant has funded the upgrading of the site to six floodlit Macadam courts, four mini tennis courts and a practice wall. The improved facilities and the floodlighting mean a significant increase in the amount of available court time for community.
The investment is part of the LTA and Tennis Foundation’s drive to get more people – of all ages, abilities and backgrounds – playing tennis.
Sue Mappin, executive director of the Tennis Foundation, said: “This is an outstanding community tennis project and we are delighted to recognise Robby and the team’s work today – Albert Road really is a beacon of excellence that we should replicate around the country.
“Our ongoing partnership with Albert Road and Haringey, combined with this investment, supports the wider drive to grow tennis in the area. We look forward to seeing all ages and abilities having fun on tennis courts all across Haringey as a result.”
Tennis coach, Robby Sukhdeo, who has run the Albert Road facility for ten years, said: “This grant ensures that we can continue with the work being done here to get more people playing tennis and staying in tennis.
“We get people of all backgrounds from across Haringey using the courts, and the clubhouse is a real hub for the community. Four years ago we had 250 incidents of crime in the park, last year we had just one, so you can see the positive influence that sport in general and tennis in particular can have.”
Roger Draper, LTA chief executive, added:
“The work being done here by Robby and Haringey Council really presents a model for how local authorities, the Tennis Foundation and LTA, and committed individuals can all work together to ensure tennis is accessible and affordable for all.
“Supported by the Tennis Foundation and LTA, the facility has great links with local clubs and schools and is part of a wider tennis programme in Haringey that touches all areas, ages and backgrounds in the borough.”
Richard Lewis, Sport England’s chair, said:
“It’s vital that public funding for sport goes into facilities that meet the highest standards, are welcoming, and cater for everyone. That’s how we’re going to get more people using them every day. The refurbishment and floodlighting project at Albert Road will offer brand new all weather courts that meet the demand of the modern game whilst offering the local community some of the very best sporting opportunities available.”
Added a spokesperson: “The funding has been provided as part of British Tennis’ Places to Play strategy which has received substantial investment from Sport England through its Whole Sport Plan funding for tennis. This makes a crucial contribution to tennis’ drive to increase the opportunities for people to participate, compete and get access to coaching at all levels of the game in communities nationwide.
“The LTA makes financial support available through its resources and ensures investments will deliver the maximum return for British Tennis through more people playing and more hours on the court across Britain. There will be an increase in the number and standard of facilities nationwide which will be available to the whole community at a reasonable, affordable cost.
“The event was also used to launch the Haringey Tennis Development Plan, which will see a significant investment from Haringey in tennis across the Borough.”
Cllr Dilek Dogus, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services, added:
“These new courts will mean that we have some of the best tennis facilities in north London. Tennis is becoming more popular in the borough and we want to build on that potential, raise standards across the board and involve from all communities.”
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