Mary opens Tennis@Churchill

Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Chief Executive Roger Draper encouraged tennis players in the North East of all ages and ability to pick up a racket yesterday at the official opening of the brand new indoor facility at Churchill Community College.

The college has spent just over £1m on Tennis@Churchill, an indoor, all-weather, four-court tennis environment for students, the community and local clubs.

The development at the college was thanks to a £347,000 grant and a £200,000 loan from the LTA, with support from Sport England.

LTA Chief Executive Roger Draper is excited by the opportunities Tennis@Churchill will create in the area as he attended the official opening.

“This will be a fantastic facility that will allow young people and adults in North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland to develop their tennis skills and performance.

“Providing affordable places to play is a priority for the LTA and encouraging players from outside the tennis community to pick up a racket all year round is something we are encouraging country wide.”

To mark the official opening an afternoon of tennis was played on the courts, including an exhibition match by two of the local AEGON FutureStars, James Parkin and Donia Azziz. Both have competed in various national events and are most recently both winners of the girls and boys AEGON U10 National Tour Titles.

Officially cutting the ribbon, MP for North Tyneside, Mary Glindon said: ““Churchill Community College and the LTA are to be congratulated on investing in such a fantastic sports facility in North Tyneside and creating new opportunities for everyone to get involved in tennis.

“An indoor facility of this quality will encourage kids and adults alike to take up tennis and to play it all year round. I look forward to seeing an increased interest in playing tennis flourish in the area as a result.”

David Baldwin, Head teacher at Churchill Community College added: “We have formed an excellent partnership to provide a facility second to none in the area. Tennis@Churchill will significantly enhance the opportunities for students at Churchill Community College as well as the wider community.”

Tennis Development Manager for North East and Cumbria, Joanna Cunliffe, added: “We are all excited about the new and enhanced tennis opportunities that Tennis @ Churchill will offer the local community and also the North East. 

“There has already been a high number of people accessing the indoor facility through the Centre’s coaching and competition programme, along with general playing opportunities.  North Tyneside has a great tennis community and these additional facilities will aim to encourage many more people to take up the sport no matter what age or standard they are.” 
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 new facilities at Churchill Community College will offer even more accessibility for its members and encourage more people from the local community to get involved in the sport.”

The funding has been provided as part of British Tennis’ facilities strategy which has received substantial investment from Sport England. This makes an important contribution to the drive to increase tennis 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.

See Mary's interview
(courtesy of the LTA)

See the official photographs of the Opening Ceremony
(pictures courtesy of Churchill Community College)