National LTA Community Venue of the Year

A STAFFORDSHIRE tennis community group have been rewarded for a stunning 2019 by scooping the ‘Communities and Parks’ award at this year’s LTA Tennis Awards.

One of 18 national winners, Cheslyn Hay Tennis received the accolade from the governing body for tennis in Britain on account of their efforts to encourage more people into the sport at Cheslyn Hay Leisure Centre, Hednesford and Cannock Park.

More than 180,000 people played tennis at community venues and parks in 2019, with the LTA are supporting this growth by funding gate access systems, and through LTA Rally so players can book courts online. 

Cheslyn Hay delivers a great range of community programmes, including Tennis for Free and SERVES, delivered through an amazing team of volunteers and coaches.

They have more than 200 players a week in organised sessions and last year raised £6,000 towards indoor provision, doing their bit to make the facilities as accessible and welcoming as possible.

As part of Sport England/SASSOT Covid-19 recovery, the tennis group are launching their offer of 200 free tennis lessons of 30 minutes to players of ages – perfect in getting players of all abilities started.

In a virtual ceremony, Cheslyn Hay were presented their award by Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent.

“We are extremely proud and honoured to be awarded the National award with so many other amazing tennis venues,” said head coach Chris Perrin. “There have been so many great moments and lots of hard work from everyone involved.

“From small beginnings in 2012 when the group started, we have got lots of rackets in new hands through affordable, accessible and inclusive tennis for all.

“We hope this is only the start, there is much more we can do to develop tennis in South Staffordshire and Cannock Chase.”  

Currently in their fifth year, the LTA Tennis Awards celebrate the achievements made by outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players in Britain.

Streamed live on LTA channels and presented by Leon Smith OBE, the national ceremony – which was digital for the first time in the awards’ history – saw the likes of current British No.1s Dan Evans and Johanna Konta pick up the LTA’s Men’s and Women’s ‘Player of the Year’ awards respectively, alongside 16 other deserving national winners.

This year saw more than 2,000 nominations across grassroots categories including Young Person of the Year and Club of the Year.

Nominations were drawn from more than 25,000 volunteers, 4,400 coaches, 940 officials, 20,000 schools, 2,700 clubs and more than 9,700 LTA approved tournaments, demonstrating the extraordinary contributions of individuals and venues who help to open up the sport and bring new fans and players to the game.

“The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive,” said LTA president, David Rawlinson.

“They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.

“To be named a national winner out of over 2,000 public nominations is a fantastic achievement so I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and extend my thanks to each and every one of them for all that they do to help tennis in Britain.”