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Morpeth Tennis Club development project

Central to our development  plans is the need to refurbish the playing surface on our top three courts.  These courts were installed close to 25 years ago and have served the club well.  However, as you will no doubt have noticed if you have played on them, the AstroTurf carpet is threadbare in places, drains poorly and can become slippery in parts when wet.  In spite of expensive rejuvenation 4 years ago, we are unable to breath any further life back into the courts and given the condition of the surface it is not economically viable to do this again.  Of more concern however, are the underlying problems with the court sub-base upon which the carpet is laid.  This has resulted in numerous bumps over its entire surface, making for an unpredictable and frustrating tennis experience!  As a consequence, these courts are underused and there is pressure on our remaining 3 courts which were refurbished following a SITA Communities Trust grant in 2015.  As a club we are essentially operating the club on 3 courts.  This has made balancing the needs of coaching, social and competitive tennis sessions, in addition to public access, increasingly more difficult.

We have developed a two-phase development plan that we hope will set the club on a sure footing for the next 15 years.

Phase 1 – Replacement of the top court playing surface

We will address the issues with the underlying sub-base and install a modern, artificial grass, sanded carpet playing surface, which offers all weather, all year-round playability.  The surface has excellent playing qualities and is suitable for both beginner and advanced level tennis for all ages.  The surface drains well and can be played on when wet and requires only a basic level of maintenance.  We favour a surface that offers a high-bounce and slow playing characteristics to promote coaching and beginner tennis activities as well as those that have limited mobility.

Cost: £72,000 including VAT

Phase 2 – Improving court access and the local environment

While our priority is to ensure the success of our phase 1 redevelopment plans, we need to think about improving the local environment around our courts.  We need to improve access pathways to the courts to ensure that wheelchair users and those of limited mobility can easily and safely access our facilities.  In addition to this, we intend to provide seating areas for spectators and replace our dug-out area with an enclosed structure that can be used for shelter and the storage of coaching equipment.  In addition to this, and with support of the LTA, we aim to install an automated electronic court floodlight access system that will facilitate both member and public access to the courts all year round.

Cost: £20,000 (estimate)

Beneficiaries

Being able to offer 6 flood-lit courts with all-year playability is vital for all levels of tennis within our club and community. The new surface will complement our coaching activities and our aims to promote tennis and court access to the public of south Northumberland.

The club has recently boosted its junior coaching plans and has established an extensive school outreach programme in the Morpeth area.  Our regular Saturday morning sessions attract over 30 children, and when we can we make use of all 6 courts. Our Easter holiday camps were fully subscribed.  With improved playing surfaces, we hope to capitalise on this momentum to offer additional junior performance squads, adult coaching and cardio tennis fitness programmes.

The club has 11 teams playing in the Durham and Northumberland local leagues.  With the aforementioned playability issues on half of our courts, fulfilling match fixtures puts extra pressure on the club’s courts and will result in the cancellation of other club activities.

Funding routes

Northumberland County Council (NCC) Communities Chest Fund:  We have just received confirmation that our application to this fund has been approved and our project has been awarded £5000.  In addition, NCC have agreed to provide an additional £7,500 towards our Crowd Funding project!  - more about this in a moment!

Club Sinking Fund: The club have saved around £12,000 over the past 5 years

SUEZ Communities Trust: The grant that we received from SITA Communities Trust in 2015 allowed us to refurbish the bottom three courts at the club.  We are applying to SITA (now SUEZ) Communities Trust to help to fund phase 1 of our development plans.  We have submitted an application for £50,000 which, if we are successful, will provide a significant amount of funding towards our £72,000 phase 1 funding goal.  Awarded!!

Tyne and Wear Community Foundation (T&WCF):  £10,000 towards phase 1  our development plans (submitted).

Allianz Sport Fund: £3000 towards our phase 1 development plans (submitted). 

Crowd Funder:  WE NEED YOUR HELP!! This is a great way for club members, local businesses and others to help us to raise money towards our development plans.  We also hope to receive a contribution from Sport England, but we will need to raise more money to unlock this!

We will soon launch our crowd funding project, so look out for promotions, events and fundraising opportunities.   The crowd funding campaign will cover any shortfall to fund our phase 1 developments and will hopefully contribute significantly towards or 'phase 2' development aspirations.