Exmouth Tennis and Leisure centre continues to bask in glory of major award.

LAST week s Beacon status award will mean great things for tennis and sport in the town, said Exmouth s Mayor Cllr. Darryl Nicholas.

LAST week's 'Beacon' status award will mean great things for tennis and sport in the town, said Exmouth's Mayor Cllr. Darryl Nicholas. Accepting the plaque on behalf of the Exmouth Tennis & Leisure Centre, Cllr Nicholas spoke of how the national recognition would help develop the town's sporting facilities.

"Being awarded Beacon status is an excellent achievement for Leisure East Devon (LED) and the Exmouth Tennis & Leisure Centre. This accolade not only signifies a high quality level of community involvement and enjoyment in sport, but also provides the very real possibility of attracting funding for investment and dramatic improvement of facilities, such as the tennis courts in Phear Park. In the long term, achieving this national recognition will be great for tennis and sport in our town."

To become a 'Beacon' site, facilities must offer access to free tennis, plus quality, affordable coaching and regular competitions for all ages and abilities. Exmouth Tennis & Leisure Centre is situated close to Exmouth Community College, and offers six fantastic indoor tennis courts (four carpet and two acrylic), throughout the year.

The Centre was selected by the Tennis Foundation for the accolade in recognition of their high quality, affordable community tennis programmes. Sue Mappin, Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation, said: "Through AEGON Parks Tennis, we are committed to improving access to tennis around the country - whether playing for fun or competing. Tennis is a fantastic lifelong sport and I strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to take part. Working with local tennis providers, this will make a real contribution to building healthier and safer communities, as well as ensuring that anyone wanting to pick up a racket can do so in a quality local environment."

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Jo Louis, Manager of the Centre added: "It's great news for the people of Exmouth and the surrounding area, as we have some exciting plans which will enable us to provide bigger and better programmes both indoors and outdoors throughout the year. Tennis is a great sport that can be played for life, and is a great way to socialise, meet new friends and spend time with the family. We want to encourage people to try tennis - even if they've never picked up a racket."

Peter Gilpin, Chief Executive of LED praised his team's success: "I am delighted that the Exmouth Tennis & Leisure Centre has achieved Beacon status as it provides a crucial role in the development of tennis in East Devon. The award is also testament to the dedication and hard work put in by Jo Louis and all the staff at the Centre, who are a credit to Leisure East Devon. "

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To celebrate their Beacon status, Exmouth Tennis & Leisure Centre will be running a number of free tennis 'taster' sessions during June and July. These will include free family tennis days (Sun 20th June & Sun 11th July); free indoor courts (Sun 27th June & Sun 4th July); a mini tennis festival (Sat 10th July); and a mini tennis roadshow week, which will visit local primary schools. Jo and the Centre's team of coaches will be taking these sessions, and look forward to seeing lots of new faces giving tennis a go.

More information can be found by popping into the Centre on Withycombe Village Road, or by calling: 01395 223355.

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