COMMUNITY tennis club gets £ 20,000 refurbishment of its Fred Perry courts after years of struggling to save them.
The future of the Hollingbury Park tennis courts was uncertain after the council decided to cut funding for sports clubs in 2017.
Fiona Hayes, president of the Ditchling Road Community Club, decided to seek help from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). The LTA got in touch with designer label Fred Perry who wanted to put money back into grassroots tennis.
She said: “It all happened very quickly at the end, they sent a contractor a few weeks ago.
“He looked at the courts and thought ‘yes I can do it within the budget proposed by Fred Perry’ and because the weather forecast is good he decided he would start this week.
The works are a temporary overhaul which Fiona says will last five to seven years and cost Fred Perry £ 15,000 to £ 20,000. A full resurface would cost around £ 60,000.
Fiona added: “They will deep clean the courts, get rid of all the moss. They will then repair the cracks, patch them and repaint the courts.
“It will be in the Fred Perry livery, so black courts with champagne lines and the Fred Perry logo at the top of the court. It will be really beautiful. ”
Fred Perry was a former world number one tennis player who won ten major tennis tournaments, mostly in the 1930s.
His brand then went on to become known worldwide as a major designer brand.
Fred Perry’s funding will cover the club’s six courts and allow the tennis club to focus on other work to improve the facilities with the money they have raised as a community. The designer brand also pays for a year of junior coaching at the club.
Fiona said: “The money that we have raised will then allow us to invest in other facilities, namely a club house that we do not have at the moment and possibly at some point, projectors. It’s a long way off, but it’s our long-term plan.
“We are very community oriented, we want to be able to keep all the land accessible to the whole community. We don’t want this to become a private club, we want to invite all ages and all skill levels.
The club is keen to welcome all members of the community, although Fiona noted that wheelchair access is limited due to the number of steps leading up to the club.
Hollingbury Park’s tennis courts have been around since 1932, making it one of the oldest in the city.
Now that they’ve got Fred Perry involved, Fiona wants to rally other companies to get involved in the sponsorship to help the club.
The club has scheduled a reopening event for Saturday, September 18 that would involve the ribbon cutting, a guest appearance as well as several other activities to celebrate the reopening.
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