Ayr Fort Tennis Courts given new lease of life
Ayr Fort Tennis Courts in Ayr have been completely transformed thanks to a partnership involving South Ayrshire Council, Prestwick Tennis and Fitness and the LTA.
The courts have been closed in recent weeks as work has taken place to resurface the popular courts.
A launch event was held at the park organised by Prestwick Tennis and Fitness and featuring club members, supporters of the club, Councillors and representatives from the LTA and Tennis Scotland. Members of the public were also invited along to try out the new facilities.
A total of £90,024.51 was invested in the courts as part of a nationwide investment by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, delivered by the LTA, to refurbish public tennis courts across Great Britain, and open up the sport to many more people.
This investment will see thousands of existing park tennis courts in poor or unplayable condition brought back to life for the benefit of communities across the country through renovation works, and improved court accessibility with new gate-access technology and booking systems.
Park tennis courts are vital in providing opportunities for children and adults to get active, delivering significant physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits to participants. Accessible facilities in parks are particularly critical to opening up the sport to those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and women and girls.
An additional £65,000 has been invested by South Ayrshire Council's Coastal Communities Fund, Barr Environmental through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund and Prestwick Tennis and Fitness.
Alongside the investment, South Ayrshire Council and Prestwick Tennis and Fitness will work with the LTA to deliver a range of activities across the park sites. This will include weekly organised free park tennis sessions for all ages, playing levels and experience where equipment is provided, meaning that people will not need someone to play with or their own racket. Local Tennis Leagues will also provide friendly, sociable, opportunities to get active through local competition.
All courts will be available to book via the LTA website. New booking systems and gate access technology means it is now easier to get on court by booking in advance to guarantee availability. Prestwick Tennis and Fitness will charge the general public £5 per court for 30 minutes. This small fee will ensure that the courts are maintained at their new high standard for years to come. The LTA, Prestwick Tennis and Fitness and South Ayrshire Council will work together to ensure free park tennis sessions are available on the courts providing regular opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and play.
Councillor Brian Connolly, Sport and Leisure Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "The refurbishment of these courts is great news and makes this exciting sport even more accessible. We will be working with Prestwick Tennis and Fitness and the LTA with the aim of getting more young people into tennis and to ensure that anyone who wants to have a go has the opportunity to do exactly that."
Councillor Martin Kilbride, Buildings, Housing and Environment Portfolio Holder for the Council said: "I am delighted we have been able to work in partnership with the LTA and Prestwick Tennis and Fitness to bring these courts up to a top-quality standard. Boosting health and wellbeing within our communities is a key ambition for the Council, so having sporting facilities which are fit for purpose is crucial."
Julie Porter, Chief Operating Officer at the LTA, said:"After months of hard work, we're delighted to see park tennis courts in South Ayrshire officially back open to the public, and in better shape than ever.
"Public tennis courts are such vital facilities for getting active and we want as many people as possible, of all ages and abilities, to pick up a racket and enjoy playing tennis. Thanks to this investment the sport will be opened up to more players, for years to come."
Stuart Andrew MP, Sports Minister, said: "We are committed to levelling up access to sport which is so important for the nation's physical and mental health.
"The Government and the LTA are working together to deliver thousands of refurbished courts across Great Britain, supported by £30million of investment including in South Ayrshire.
"These improved Ayr Fort Tennis Courts will provide the local community with fun opportunities to get active and potentially become the next Andy Murray or Emma Raducanu."