National sports charity ‘Tennis For Free’ has served up an ace for Sefton Park and the surrounding area by investing in a 50 week programme of free tennis lessons hoping hundreds of people join in and make a racket at the Park’s tennis courts.
The timing of the launch couldn’t be better with tennis fever heightening. The World ATP Finals are being held in London in mid-November and then at the end of the same month Great Britain take on Belgium in the Davis Cup Final hoping to win for the first time since 1936. The charity has created a partnership with Liverpool City Council, Mersey Bowmen Tennis Club and the LTA to help provide free coach led tennis sessions for all the family starting on Sunday 1st November between 10:00am and 12:00noon. You don’t even need a racket as all equipment is provided free of charge.
Alan Haddy of Mersey Bowmen Tennis Club whose courts are located in Sefton Park and where this Tennis For Free scheme will be held said: “Mersey Bowmen welcomes Tennis for Free to our courts in picturesque Sefton Park. It’s a fantastic opportunity for members of the local community to try tennis for the first time – or dust off the cobwebs for those who’ve played before. Tennis for Free creates the opportunity for everyone to learn tennis, regardless of age and ability, and players are welcome to come and try, develop their skills and join the club for more regular play – we’re delighted with the popularity of the programme so far. Mersey Bowmen is a friendly club in one of the city’s best locations, with popular social tennis and successful league teams, and is part of a vibrant and diverse local community. Tennis here is for everyone and anyone – come down and give it a try.”
Started in 2004 and celebrating a decade of getting over 150,000 people to hit tennis balls for free, Tennis For Free is a registered charity founded by comedian Tony Hawks. It aims to provide healthy, vibrant tennis communities on FREE public park tennis courts creating new tennis players of all ages and backgrounds, and showing that tennis can be enjoyed by all. Tennis For Free supporters include Judy Murray (mother of GB tennis No1 Andy, Federation Cup Captain and ex Strictly Come Dancing star), BBC tennis commentator Andrew Castle and ex multiple Grand Slam winner Pat Cash.
Tennis For Free CEO, Paul Jessop said: “Having started as a website listing free parks tennis we now have an extensive free tennis programme across the UK. With support from our sponsors the LTA we are partnering with local organisations and local tennis coaches and investing over the next three years into 50 Tennis For Free park sites across the UK, helping approximately 40,000 new people to experience the TFF fun sessions.
Councillor Tim Moore, Mayoral lead for organised sport at Liverpool City Council, said: “The courts at Sefton Park have been upgraded this Summer and this is a great opportunity for people to get involved in tennis whatever their age, ability or background. Who knows -we may find the next Andy Murray or Laura Robson with this scheme!”
Allison Lewis, LTA Regional Participation Manager said: “We are very excited about the free activities being created for people to play tennis in Liverpool through the Tennis for Free programme, and Sefton Park is a really accessible park in the heart of the community. Having good local easy to access park facilities where you can play informally with your family and friends is really important to encouraging people to play and with Tennis for Free offering free sessions on a weekend you will be able to meet and find others of similar levels to play with. The LTA are working in partnership with Tennis for Free to develop a number of similar programmes across the country.”