The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has announced that it has secured significant financial backing from Sport England for a series of participation events around this summer’s Aegon Open Nottingham tennis tournament.
The £199,300 Sport England Major Events Engagement Fund grant was announced during the Aegon Open Nottingham and will link the tournament with projects that will make a lasting impact on tennis participation in and around Nottingham.
The event was attended by: Michael Downey, The LTA Chief Executive; Phil Smith, Sport England’s Director of Sport, Hugh White, Nottingham City Council’s Director of Sport and Culture and Paul Hutchins, Tournament Director, Aegon Open Nottingham (ATP).
Implemented in partnership with Nottingham City Council, the participation plan will have two core elements. Firstly to build mass engagement opportunities in tennis around the tournament, and secondly to establish a community based legacy from the tournament.
Activities taking place during the tournament will include: a discounted summer membership offer for selected clubs in the city, a series of tennis activities in Nottingham’s Market Square, and a number of tennis hitting walls at various sites across the city that will bring tennis to people in areas not traditionally associated with the game.
The recruitment and training of a Community Tennis Officer, forms the back bone of the long term legacy strand of the plan. The Community Tennis Officer will work closely with Nottingham City Council and Sport England’s regional teams, to develop a team of tennis activators to bring tennis opportunities to Community Centers and Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA) to different areas of the city.
The Aegon Open Nottingham (ATP) Tournament Director, Paul Hutchins, said: “We are delighted to bring world class tennis back to Nottingham this summer and it is vital that this great event has a long lasting impact on tennis for all in and around the city. This grant will ensure that we harness the heightened interest in tennis during this summer and give opportunities to pick up a racket and get on court to as many people from all communities in the region.”
Speaking at the announcement, Phil Smith, Sport England’s Director of Sport, said: “The closest most of us usually get to the action at major sporting events is watching from the stands and cheering on our side. But that’s about to change. This programme means that people can play an active part in the Aegon Open Nottingham, making it a truly interactive experience. Whether you’re a diehard tennis fan or someone who’s never picked up a racket, there will be something for everyone.”
Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture welcomed the announcement and said: “This is fantastic news and a great opportunity to work in partnership with the LTA to deliver events that widen opportunities for citizens to live a more active lifestyle through sport. We are proud to see world-class tennis returning to the city this summer and the Sport England grant allows us to continue to raise awareness and make the sport more accessible in communities.”
David Macmillan, Chief Marketing Officer at Aegon added: “We are delighted to be involved in a programme that will bring tennis opportunities to as many people across the region. Aegon support British tennis at all levels, and using the high profile of our summer tournaments, including the Aegon Open Nottingham, is a great way to get more people enjoying playing tennis.”
As part of the project, seven clubs are participating in a campaign to encourage more people to join a tennis club in Nottinghamshire. The offer, a trial 8 week family membership for £29, aims to encourage families to choose tennis this summer. Participating clubs are Attenborough Tennis Club, Burton Joyce Tennis Club, Eastwood Tennis Club, Caunton Tennis Club, Magdala Tennis Club, West Bridgford Tennis Club, Wollaton Village Tennis Club. For more details of this and other ways to play tennis in Nottingham visit www.tennisinnottingham.com
For more information on the Aegon Open Nottingham and to purchase tickets please visit: http://www.lta.org.uk/major-events/aegon-open-nottingham