Leeds Community Tennis Programme wins Communities and Parks Award at 2021 LTA Tennis Awards
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Leeds Community Tennis Programme has been crowned a national winner at the prestigious LTA Tennis Awards for its exploits growing the sport in the region.
The team at the Leeds Community Tennis Programme has scooped the LTA’s Communities and Parks Award after being recognised for its inspirational work adapting to Covid-19 restrictions and booming back to life after lockdown.
The programme responded positively to the demands of the pandemic, thought creatively to welcome new members and fostered a welcoming, inclusive environment as restrictions eased.
They were announced as the winners by sports presenter Anne-Marie Batson at the live-streamed awards ceremony presented by LTA Head of Men’s tennis and Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain Leon Smith OBE.
The LTA Tennis Awards are now in their sixth year and celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players across the country.
And they were hand-picked as one of 16 national winners recognised at the awards ceremony this evening, which honoured individuals involved in tennis at grassroots, county, regional and national level.
Their creative use of social media allowed partners, the community and participants to remain connected and engaged throughout the pandemic. Their swift re-opening of courts when it was safe to do so not only supported the coaching staff with income but it also enabled club players to play at a free venue when they otherwise couldn't during the pandemic.
Despite the restrictions of lockdown, Leeds Community Tennis Programme has continued to inspire as it secured almost 50,000 bookings across ten park sites, embraced technology during lockdown and remained as accessible as possible as the country gets back to normality.
Nominations were drawn from over 25,000 volunteers, nearly 5,000 coaches and 1,000 officials, 22,000 schools, nearly 3,000 clubs and over 9,000 LTA approved tournaments, with Leeds Community Tennis Programme recognised for their inspirational work in the Yorkshire region.
The quality and quantity of the nominations demonstrate outstanding work that has been done in tennis through the pandemic and David Rawlinson, LTA President, said: “The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive.
“They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.
“The past year has been challenging for everyone, but to see the tremendous positive contributions the nominees have made to the sport and to their communities has been tremendously uplifting.”
National Runners Up
In 2018 Neath Tennis was founded by a group of residents who wanted to regenerate the town's abandoned tennis courts and allow tennis to be an accessible option for exercise in an area of high social deprivation. The group raised the necessary funds, negotiated planning permissions and despite Covid hitting when the work was scheduled to take place, the facility opened in September 2020.
In 2020, Premier Tennis in Oxfordshire saw an increase of 76% in players taking part and trying tennis for the first time across their parks and clubs. The coaching team created a range of small group fun fitness sessions entitled ‘Activity Bursts’ which were featured on BBC Radio Oxford as an example of safe, welcoming activity during a difficult time for grassroots sport.
LTA Communities and Parks Award 2021 – National Shortlist
- Bristol Parks Tennis
- Leeds Community Tennis Programme
- Neath Tennis in Wales
- Premier Tennis in Oxfordshire
- Steve Riley from Will to Win in London
- Wrekin and Telford Tennis Community in Shropshire