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4 July 2013, 12:12 | Updated: 4 July 2013, 12:13
Tennis players in Portsmouth are set to benefit from £1.33m cash funding which includes the provision of a new tennis centre and improvements to existing facilities.
Portsmouth was awarded the money by the sport's governing body, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), and is one of only eight areas nationally to receive the LTA funding. The aim of the scheme is to encourage people to get interested in the sport and help shape the future of tennis in the UK.
Portsmouth City Council has shown its commitment to improving tennis facilities by providing £332,824 towards the new tennis centre which is set to open in November 2013. Construction of the new centre is underway next to the Mountbatten Leisure Centre. Parkwood Leisure who run the Mountbatten Centre for the council will also manage the new facility.
Improvements and increased coaching opportunities will really boost the profile of tennis in the city and encourage adults and kids of all abilities to get involved for fun and fitness.
£834,387 of the LTA's funding will be allocated to the new tennis centre which will include four indoor and four outdoor courts. The additional £500,000 will pay for improvements and increased provision of tennis coaching to five other sites.
The areas set to benefit from funding are:
- Milton Park. Refurbishment work currently underway includes resurfacing the courts and is set to be completed by mid-July. Residents can use the courts for free during the day.
- Southsea Tennis Club. Turn up and play. Refurbishment work is planned for later in the year, including heating and floodlighting. The newly opened Pavilion Café serves great quality food and refreshments.
- Cosham Park. Come and try a coaching session. Residents can use the courts for free during the day.
- Mountbatten Centre. New facility opening in November providing opportunities for new and more advanced players.
- Priory Tennis Centre. Funded coaching available plus the provision to 'pay and play' at the three courts and borrow equipment.
Mark Woolnough, Portsmouth City Council's Built Environment and Recreation Manager, said:
"As well as building the new centre we are using the LTA money to help us establish a city-wide disability tennis programme with development opportunities for talented athletes, plus a schools tennis programme.
"We really want people to know that tennis is for everyone, not just professional athletes. It's fun and it keeps you fit, and that's why we are developing the local parks. So whether you are a new player or have played before and want to try again, just come down to your local courts and give it a try."