Secretary of State for Wales visits refurbished park tennis courts following Wimbledon Championships
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The Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies MP has this week visited newly refurbished public tennis courts at Six Bells Park, Abertillery, just one of the parks across Wales that is benefitting from a £30m investment from the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, delivered by the LTA, into park tennis courts across Britain.
The revitalised courts at Six Bells Park have undergone a full resurfacing and repainting, to bring them back to life for use by the local community, thanks to over £35,000 of funding from the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation.
The newly refurbished courts received 285 hours of bookings in the six weeks since they reopened in May, highlighting local appetite for tennis.
Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies MP said: “The UK Government is continuing to invest significantly in grassroots facilities, helping communities to deliver the huge health and social benefits that sport brings.
“I was delighted to see, so close the end of the Wimbledon Championships, the new facilities at Six Bells Park which will allow people from across the area to try tennis and for future generations of players to develop their skills.”
The Parks Tennis Project is delivering vital improvements to the condition of over 3,000 park tennis courts across England, Scotland and Wales, resurfacing and repainting those parks in the worst condition, with a particular focus on targeting inequalities in participation. It is the most significant investment in park tennis courts for a generation.
Over 1,000 park court refurbishments have now been completed across Great Britain. Work on parks in Wales are now also complete in Vale of Glamorgan and Newport, with works ongoing on sites across Wrexham, Conwy, Caerphilly and Bridgend, and in the pipeline across a number of other local authorities.
LTA Head of Park Investment Delivery Paul Bennett said: “The upgraded courts in Six Bells Park are a prime example of how this transformational investment in park tennis courts by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation is opening up tennis in Wales and across Britain.
“Existing park courts like this have been identified for renovation not just because they will have the biggest impact on participation, but because they will address inequalities in participation by helping to engage traditionally under-represented communities in tennis.
“With the courts having successfully reopened to the public, we’re really excited to capitalise on this momentum by working with Blaenau Gwent Council, Tennis Wales and Chris Hill to roll ouFree Park Tennis over the coming months.”
As part of our commitment to open tennis up to many more people, we are supporting local authorities and providers to ensure that a range of activity is in place across park courts, including free weekly tennis sessions where equipment is provided. All courts will be bookable on the our online booking system with digital gate access systems installed across sites, to make finding, booking and getting onto court as easy and secure as possible for tennis players across the country.
The programme is designed to open up the sport to many more people as we aim to attract 500,000 more players in parks every year.
It follows a surge in grassroots participation across Britain, including in Wales. Tennis Wales, the national governing body for tennis in Wales, recently announced that 176,000 adults picked up a racket and played tennis in the year to May 2023, an increase of 46,000 compared to 2019.
More children are also now playing tennis with 154,000 playing every year and Sport Wales’ School Sport Survey highlighted that around 50,000 children have a desire to try tennis.
Improved public facilities are helping to address this demand, whilst more young people are also having the opportunity to pick up a racket in schools through LTA Youth Schools. Through this programme, ourselves and Tennis Wales are removing barriers to participation by training more than 650 Welsh teachers in delivering the programme, providing a £250 voucher for each school that has completes this to be redeemed for 10 hours of LTA Accredited coaching or equipment.
Parks Tennis Project
Find out more about the Parks Tennis Project and how we're transforming park courts across Great Britain.