LTA announce multi-million pound support package for tennis in Britain to combat impact of coronavirus

03/04/2020

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The LTA has today announced a multi-million pound package of additional funding and measures to support those involved in tennis in Britain through the impact of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The comprehensive package, which has been developed by the LTA in consultation with Tennis Scotland and Tennis Wales, will make additional support available to tennis venues, coaches, officials and players to the value of up to approximately £20m, with the goal of ensuring that tennis in Britain emerges from this period in as strong and healthy a position as possible, and that the sport is able to resume its unique role in keeping the nation active as soon as conditions allow. 

The funding and support will aid those who have been most severely affected by the pandemic, many of whom have seen their income streams reduced while still needing to pay bills and support families. The focus is on protecting the grassroots of the sport, but measures have also been put in place to support professional British tennis players and coaches, including financial grants for some lower ranked players who depend on limited tournament prize money to continue in the sport.

It adds to an existing programme of investment and support that the LTA has continued to make available both during and after the pandemic as part of its strategy to grow tennis and open it up to many more people.

Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said:

"The first priority at this time is the health and wellbeing of everybody, and our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected by the coronavirus. Our sport is far from exempt from its impact, and this pandemic has the potential to put the continued future growth of tennis at significant risk. We know that many involved in tennis in Britain are concerned about their futures and are facing significant challenges, and so our primary objective in announcing these unprecedented measures is to ensure clubs and venues remain viable and coaches and officials are not lost to the sport.  

“We hope that the combination of this new package and the continuation of our existing support will help ensure they are all able to operate post COVID-19. We want them all to play their part in delivering our collective vision of opening up tennis to many more people through activity like our LTA Youth programme to engage the next generation in tennis and our LTA Rally digital platform that will help people easily find and book tennis courts and activities.”

The LTA is committing to make significant savings to help fund the new package, as well as reallocating some funds from its reserves. The organisation has also announced furloughing measures to its workforce whilst the current rules around social distancing and venue closures make it increasingly difficult for the LTA to deliver normal levels of activity, with any staff furloughed receiving a top up of the Government scheme to 80% of their base salary. Alongside this, LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd and the Executive Team will be taking a 20% reduction in salary.

Throughout the past few weeks the LTA has been and will continue to be involved in regular conversations with the Government to outline the challenges the sport is facing, and has been vocal on the need for support for the self-employed and for clarity around insurance provisions.

The measures announced by the Chancellor to support business and the self-employed are very welcome, with the additional support now being provided by the LTA has been designed to complement them.  

The support being provided by the LTA for those impacted by the coronavirus includes:

Tennis Venues

  • A repayment holiday on loans of six months for all existing LTA facility loans, equating to a value of almost £1m
  • A 2019/20 registration fee refund for LTA Registered Venues equating to over £1m
  •  A Hardship Fund of up to £13.5m, providing interest free loans of up to £5,000
  • Dedicated helpline providing legal expertise to assist with identifying and claiming Government support
  • Continued operation of the LTA’s Quick Access loans scheme for tennis venues which provides interest free loans of up to £250k for investments such as covered courts, padel courts and floodlighting

Coaches

  • Financial support grants for full time LTA Accredited Coaches and Tutors, covering both the self-employed and those set up as sole directors of limited companies, equating to a value of approximately £4m
  • A targeted Hardship Fund of up to £1m, providing interest free loans for coaches of up to £5,000
  • Dedicated helpline providing legal expertise to assist with identifying and claiming Government support
  • Free access to online Continuing Professional Development courses
  • Temporary extension for LTA Accredited Coaches where their accreditation has recently expired or is due to expire in the coming months
  • Grant and loan funding to be made available to the LTA’s Coach Qualification providers

Officials

  • Financial support grants for full time LTA Licensed Officials
  • Dedicated helpline providing legal expertise to assist with identifying and claiming Government support
  • Temporary extension for LTA Licensed Officials where their Licence has recently expired or is due to expire in the coming months
  • Provision of additional Online Webinars/Workshops
  • Additional support around scheduled tournaments that have been cancelled, including reimbursement of fees incurred through processing player entry refunds

Performance Players and Programmes (LTA Player Pathway)

  • Continued funding provided to network of over 60 LTA Local and Regional Player Development Centres plus the two National Academies to ensure they can return to operations as normal on resumption of tennis
  • Continued payment of funding grants to players on the LTA Player Pathway and Wheelchair World Class Programmes
  • New support grant for British singles players ranked ATP / WTA 101-750 and British doubles players ranked ATP / WTA 101-250 who are not currently in receipt of LTA player funding
  • Increased prize money for British Tour events and an enhanced Tournament Bonus Scheme linked to professional events should these resume later in the year
  • Provision of home fitness training kits with virtual training sessions plus remote science and medicine services to targeted player groups
  • Increased mental health and wellbeing support

Recreational Players and Public (Tennis at Home campaign)

  • Series of online tennis activity and fitness videos that can be done in the home or garden 
  • Dedicated activity content for both children and the over 70’s
  • Enhanced programme of digital and social media content to keep tennis fans at home entertained
  • Utilisation of LTA digital channels to deliver the Government’s core public health messages
  • Donation of thousands of tennis rackets and activity cards for distribution to children in disadvantaged communities via StreetGames 

In return for some of the financial support grants and loans being provided, coaches, venues and players that benefit from the extra LTA support during this period will be asked to commit time to contribute back to the sport and their local communities, including undertaking activity to help open up tennis to more people in their local area once the sport is able to resume. This will see them contribute through initiatives such as the LTA’s Big Tennis Weekend free open days, delivering LTA Youth sessions for children, involvement in LTA Rally and delivering coaching activities in schools.

The LTA is also playing its part in the collective national effort to fight the coronavirus. Tennis led the way for the sport sector with the launch of the LTA’s Tennis at Home campaign two weeks ago in answer to a Government call to help keep the nation active during the current crisis.

The campaign promotes both physical and mental wellbeing, and has helped hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and abilities enjoy tennis from their homes. As part of the campaign, the LTA will be donating thousands of rackets and tennis activity cards to be distributed by its charity partner StreetGames to children in disadvantaged communities to enable them to enjoy tennis at home.

Finally, in addition to entertaining tennis fans confined to their homes with an enhanced programme of digital and social media content, the LTA is supporting the Government by utilising its channels to deliver core public messaging in relation to the coronavirus.

Further details of the support packages, including when different aspects will be available from and how they are being implemented for eligible people and venues, will be provided on the LTA website in the coming days via www.lta.org.uk/coronavirus.

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