Published: 07:58, 17 July 2017
Kings Hill Community Tennis Club don’t need Wimbledon to boost their numbers – but they do need a different kind of help.
The club’s success story continues with about 280 players on their coaching programme each week.
But as numbers continue to rise, club founder Chloe Ayling is concerned she may have to turn people away if she can’t secure lights for the winter.
She’s hoping to raise £4,000 for eight temporary floodlights at the public courts in Gibson Drive, where the club are based.
She said: “The thing we’re desperate for at the moment is temporary floodlights.
“Having built up such a big programme and so much interest in tennis, it would be such a shame if it drops off over winter due to not being able to use the courts after 4pm, when it gets dark.
“We’re hoping to raise money and we’re searching for people to help with that programme and funding options.
“What we’re hoping to do is raise enough interest with the parish council or local businesses that we might be able to find some form of sponsorship.”
There’s traditionally a surge in tennis interest during Wimbledon fortnight but Kings Hill are always picking up members.
Ayling said: “We have new queries and new people joining us almost every week, which is fantastic and again that’s my slight concern with the dwindling light is that we won’t be able to accommodate them all.
“My vision was always to have tennis accessible. What I don’t want is some massive waiting list and people feeling like they can’t get to play.
“I’m a little concerned I’ll have to turn people away and it’s not what we ever wanted.
“There may be a club who’s been in the same position who now has lights, or a different sports club out there who might be able to donate lights.”
Ayling’s club is a worthy cause, having been named LTA Community Venue of the Year.
She does so much with youngsters, running school sessions at Kings Hill School, the Discovery School, Valley Invicta School and Offham School, along with inter-school events and a junior championships attended by 57 players.
On top of that, they’ve just hosted a Paralympics event for children with disabilities and a Reach charity event for youngsters with shortened or missing limbs.
The club have numerous teams in various Kent League divisions, with the ladies winning promotion. They will also be running school summer holiday camps for players of different ages and abilities.
For dates and times, visit clubspark.lta.org.uk/taylormadetenniscoaching/coaching/junior
To help with floodlight sponsorship, call Chloe on 07595 479868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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