Neath Tennis completes redevelopment of community tennis courts
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Work has successfully been completed on the redevelopment of Neath’s Dyfed Road tennis courts.
The site near the Gnoll rugby ground had been derelict for many years until a group of residents came together to lease the site from the local authority and develop a plan for the restoration of tennis in the town.
In less than two years, Neath Tennis has raised the necessary funds to resurface four tarmacadam tennis courts, erect new perimeter fencing and install an electronic gate system that gives users access to the playing areas.
The plan has been made possible with major grants from Sport Wales through their Place for Sport scheme and Tennis Wales. Additional contributions were made by Morgan Sindall, who are currently constructing the new Cefn Saeson secondary school, Councillor John Warman who donated money from Neath Port Talbot Borough County Council’s Members’ Community fund and Hornbill Engineering. The redevelopment work was undertaken by tennis court specialists Courtstall.
There has been a tennis club in Neath since 1886 but the courts at Dyfed Road fell into decline in the 1990s and were subsequently closed. This redevelopment heralds a new chapter in the club’s history and Neath Tennis will work in partnership with Tennis Wales to resurrect a tennis club in the town whilst also offering tennis for all members of the community who wish to play using a pay-and-play system for as little as £5.
Local schools, colleges and organisations such as the Urdd are also planning on using the facility, and it promises to once again become an important sporting hub in the area.
Lloyd Williams, Chair of Neath Tennis, says, “We knew there was a desire amongst the community to see the tennis courts restored to their former glory and we’re delighted to see the courts back in action again. Neath Tennis would like to thank the partners and funders who have helped realise this dream and we look forward to welcoming the community back to the courts for a game of tennis over the months and years to come!”
Luke Williams of Tennis Wales commented, “It is fantastic to see the hard work of many stakeholders and volunteers come together and provide Neath with a tennis facility to be proud of.
“Neath Community Tennis Courts is the latest investment which will provide great facilities, low cost membership, pay-and-play and coaching to local people. The project directly links to our strategy for opening up tennis across Wales making it accessible, relevant, welcoming and enjoyable across the country.
“We will be continuing to work closely with the venue to maximise the excellent opportunity to grow tennis in the local area.”
The £5m Place for Sport fund was allocated by Welsh Government to Sport Wales in 2019 to award grants that could improve, protect or create new sports facilities in Wales. Funding was awarded to over 150 projects across the country.
Commenting on the fund’s impact, Sport Wales Chief Executive Sarah Powell said: “Having access to high quality sports facilities is a must if we want to make Wales a more active and successful nation, so we were very pleased to be able to support this project. As we look to the future and to a recovery from this pandemic, community facilities will play a vital role in enabling people to return to sport safely.”
Rob Williams, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction said: “Sport has an integral role to play in the development of healthy, vibrant communities – an agenda very much aligned to our values. We’re proud to be playing a small part in helping to support the renaissance of an established local club, which will benefit people of all ages for generations to come.”
Cllr. John Warman: "I was delighted in my role as county councillor to support a project that will become a focus for activity and sport in the town once again."
Stuart James of Hornbill Engineering: "Hornbill are delighted to be a part of an important community project like this that's managed to bring a major community facility back to life."
Neath Tennis are grateful to all the volunteers who have realised the project and to the patrons and local companies who have supported the redevelopment. Special thanks should also be given to Robert Williams of Hutchinson Thomas Solicitors and Ryan Jones of the Coalfields Trust.
Playing tennis at Neath Community Tennis Courts is an easy process. You simply go online at www.neathtennis.net to book a court, subscribe to a range of membership packages and from 2021 there will be coaching programmes on offer.
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