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Prestwich park tennis scheme has record start

Press Release   •   Oct 11, 2017 16:24 BST

A new free tennis coaching scheme in St Mary’s Park, Prestwich has beaten other similar schemes across the UK for the biggest launch of 2017.

National sports charity ‘Tennis For Free’, together with Bury Council and the LTA served up an ace for Prestwich by investing in a year-long programme of free tennis sessions hoping hundreds of people across the area would take up the sport. Sixty-five people turned up to the first session which is a Tennis For Free record for 2017.

The charity is working in partnership with Bury Council and the LTA to help provide free coach led tennis sessions for all the family every Sunday between 2-4pm.You don’t need a racket or a ball as all equipment is provided free of charge.

Tennis For Free is a registered charity.It aims to create healthy, vibrant local tennis communities for free on public park tennis courts creating new tennis players of all ages and backgrounds, and showing that tennis can be enjoyed by all. Tennis For Free supporters include Judy Murray (mother of World No1 Andy), BBC tennis commentator Andrew Castle and ex Grand Slam winner Pat Cash.

Tennis For Free CEO, Paul Jessop said: “Not only did the site achieve 65 attendees in the first week but the second week saw 55 people turn up.This is impressive considering its late September so a huge well-done to the coaching team who have worked with our partners Bury Council and the LTA to launch with great success.We want as many people as possible to enjoy the game that’s why all our sessions continue throughout the Autumn and Winter and it looks like St Mary’s players will be there come rain or shine, week in, week out.”

Councillor Catherine Preston, Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Bury Council, said: “If you’ve ever fancied learning to play tennis, but have been put off by the expense, these Tennis for Free sessions could be just the thing for you.The professional coach teaches beginners how to master the basic shots, but if you can play already, you’ll get help with how to take your game to the next level. Sessions are also family-friendly so youngsters can come along too.”

Samuel Foakes, LTA Regional Tennis Participation Manager, said: “We are very excited about the free activities being created for people to play tennis in Prestwich through the Tennis for Free programme. The park has really accessible facilities in the heart of the community. Having easy access to local good park facilities where you can play informally with your family and friends is really important in encouraging people to play.And with Tennis for Free offering free sessions every weekend, people will be able to meet and make new friends, get fit and have some fun and all for no cost.”

Tennis For Free has plans to bring more than 175,000 new tennis players, 2,000 coaches and 5,000 volunteers into the sport over the next five years. The charity, which runs free community tennis sessions at public parks across the UK, has a new partnership agreement with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and a new funding circle of private individuals. The new partnership will boost the network of free tennis schemes by hundreds nationwide, launching in Wales and Northern Ireland as well as increasing its sites in England and Scotland, making it a truly national community led programme.

Tennis For Free (TFF), which works with local authorities and tennis clubs up and down the country, currently funds around 200 professional tennis coaches who are supported by volunteers to offer weekly sessions to people of all ages and backgrounds at its 50 sites.Everything is free for participants - equipment is provided and there are no court hire costs. It will also bring more people, especially from disadvantaged communities, into physical activity and reinvigorate under-used local parks.

You can register for Tennis For Free as follows: www.stmarysparktennis.co.ukFor more information visit www.tennisforfree.com. You can also follow Tennis For Free on twitter @tennisforfree and on Facebook.

-ENDS-

Issued: 11 Oct 2017.