Adur and Worthing Councils and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have agreed a partnership – with will benefit courts in Buckingham Park, Shoreham, and Church House Grounds, Tarring.
They will be given a ‘new lease of life’ thanks to funding from both bodies, as well as the UK Government, as part of LTA’s Park Tennis Project. A total of £98,000 will be provided by the government and LTA Tennis Foundation, along with £155,000 from the councils.
Free tennis sessions will also be run at both sites, with those of any age or ability able to sign up.
Emma Evans, Adur’s cabinet member for the environment and leisure, said: “Thanks to this investment, more people will be able to enjoy sport on their doorstep.
“Our parks are a vital resource for our community so the more people we can get to enjoy their benefits the better.”
Rita Garner, Worthing’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “Playing tennis is a great way to keep fit but the cost of the equipment can be too much for some people to be able to even try it.
“I hope these free sessions will encourage lots of our community to start what could become the beginning of a fitness journey that will leave them healthier and happier.”
The project is part of a nationwide scheme to refurbish public tennis courts to open up the sport to many more people.
The investment will see thousands of existing park tennis courts across Great Britain ‘transformed for the benefit of communities’, with ‘improved access’ through new gate-access technology and booking systems.
Julie Porter, LTA Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are delighted to be working with Adur and Worthing Councils 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 Adur & Worthing Councils to ensure that members of the local community have a range of accessible opportunities to get on court, and open up our sport to many more people.”
Work on the courts is expected to begin in the coming weeks and will be complete by spring 2024.
A councils spokesperson said: “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 everyone, in particular women and girls.
“The councils will also work with local clubs and the LTA to deliver free weekly organised park tennis sessions for all ages, playing levels and experience. Equipment will also be provided, meaning that people will not need to find someone to play with or their own racket.
"Local tennis leagues will also provide friendly, sociable, opportunities to get active through local competition.”
Courts and sessions at both Buckingham Park and Church House Grounds will be available to book online via www.lta.org.uk/book, in the same way as the courts in Homefield Park, Worthing, currently operate.