Published: 12:07, 13 May 2022
| Updated: 09:18, 16 May 2022
More than 40 new tennis players are starting cut-price coaching sessions after a club received cash to help it bounce back after the pandemic.
Coaches and members of Gravesham Tennis Club are said to be over the moon knowing how much the £1,566 will benefit them.
Chairman John Stevenson calls for new players as the club can now welcome more people thanks to the funding
The money has enabled the club to attract new members with reduced fees, and provide them with adult and junior coaching sessions. They will also invest in new equipment such as tennis balls.
Player fees dropped from £7 to £2 thanks to the funding, but it will go back up when the club takes the next batch of athletes.
Coach Angela Suleau said she was thrilled to get people back on the court and more players joining the club.
She said: "It's great to get everyone playing again after staying locked inside their homes for so long.
"The sessions will be so beneficial to our players as it's a healthy activity, it's outdoors and lets everyone get a nice bit of fresh air.
"As for our juniors, we'll help these kids get skills for life. They can take on tennis once they leave school, at university, or even join tournaments if that's what their passion is. They'll never forget how to play the sport."
Angela added the team could not be more grateful for the funding as the 41-year-old club was suspended last year as part of the national lockdown.
She said: "We had to shut down 100% and we obviously had our income affected by this. As tennis coaches, our money fully depends on whether we can book lessons or not.
"We also had to suspend all maintenance work, and even lost some members and players along the way."
The money has come from a Covid recovery fund from Kent County Council.
Kent County Councillor for Gravesend East, Jordan Meade, said: "I am delighted to be able to award funding from Kent County Council’s COVID-19 Local Recovery Fund to the Gravesham Tennis Club.
"The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of grassroots participation in sporting activities, particularly when it comes to improving physical and mental health.
"Gravesham Tennis Club have proven themselves to be an intrinsic part of our community and I am pleased that that this funding will enable more people of all ages and backgrounds to take up the racket and enjoy all the benefits of being part of a community club."