Exmouth Tennis Centre received major award

PUBLISHED: 10:21 09 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:11 18 June 2010

THE TENNIS Foundation has announced that Exmouth Tennis and Leisure Centre is celebrating receiving a prestigious award, writes Steve Birley.

THE TENNIS Foundation has announced that Exmouth Tennis and Leisure Centre is celebrating receiving a prestigious award, writes Steve Birley.

The Centre has been awarded Beacon status in recognition of its high quality, affordable community tennis programmes.

The announcement was made as the Centre was presented with their prestigious beacon plaque by the Tennis Foundation.

Exmouth Tennis & Leisure Centre was selected by the Tennis Foundation for the accolade along with 39 other Beacon sites across the country.

It is one of the first community sites to achieve the status, which recognises the best community-focused facilities, as part of AEGON Parks Tennis.

Sue Mappin, Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation, said: "We were delighted to recognise the excellent work the Centre is already doing by awarding them 'Beacon' status. To grow participation we need more quality public tennis facilities like this, offering the local community a fun, affordable tennis experience all year round. The Tennis Foundation is working in partnership with the town to develop community tennis, as part of its ongoing drive to enhance tennis opportunities. 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."

To become a 'Beacon' site, all 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.

Jo Louis, Manager of the Centre added: "We're really excited about being granted Beacon Status, and hope that this award will help us raise enough funding to re-develop the outdoor tennis courts at Phear Park. 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 - so to celebrate our Beacon Status, Exmouth Tennis & Leisure Centre will be running a number of free 'taster' sessions during June and July. These will include free family tennis days, free indoor courts, a mini tennis festival and a mini tennis roadshow week, which will visit local primary schools. The team of coaches at the Centre and myself will be taking these session, and we really do look forward to seeing lots of new faces giving tennis a go."

Peter Gilpin, Chief Executive of Leisure East Devon (LED) who manage the Centre said: "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. "

AEON Parks Tennis aims to increase community access to tennis in parks and communities nationwide. Led by the Tennis Foundation and supported by the LTA, AEGON Parks Tennis is a key programme in British tennis' drive to increase participation and grow tennis at all levels. The long-term aim is to have one beacon site acting as a centre of community tennis excellence in each of the 442 local authorities in Britain.

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