Wisbech Tennis Club is celebrating today after the National Lottery announced it was serving up a £50,000 grant to provide floodlit all-weather courts.
MP Steve Barclay was equally delighted, having raised the issue of sports funding in rural areas in the House of Commons after the tennis club’s two previous funding bids failed.
“This is proof that perseverance does pay off as this is a case of third time lucky for Wisbech Tennis Club, who came to me in desperation after their first two bids to Sports England were rejected.
“I was appalled by the case. The club was making do with grass courts and no lights, which meant play was curtailed for most of the winter months,” said Mr Barclay.
As a result the MP took up the cause, organising a series of meetings including with the Lawn Tennis Association and Sport England, before raising the matter of rural sports funding in Parliament and highlighting the plight of Wisbech Tennis Club.
Today’s announcement that the club is to receive £50,000 from the National Lottery through its Inspired Facilities, part of its Olympic and Paralympic Legacy programme, has delighted club chairman Sue Beel.
She said: “We are delighted to have secured funding which mean we will now have the resources to become an all-year round club. We are really looking forward to offering tennis to many more people from the local area.
“It is great that we will be able to offer tennis all year round and hopefully build our membership, encouraging people of all ages to come and enjoy this fun sport.”
The grant will assist the club to create two floodlit all-weather courts hopefully with a state-of-the-art clay surface and will then enable play all year round.
To celebrate the award the club is holding a free taster session on Sunday May 18 at 11.30am to give local people a chance to try out the game and to learn more about the club’s plans. Contact Sue on 07549263767 or email email@example.com to register.
Mr Barclay added: “This funding is great news and I hope the people of Wisbech and surrounding area will take the opportunity to join the club in order to show Sport England the facilities are well used. I see this grant as a beginning, rather than an end, as it will hopefully provide the basis for future sports bids.”