Sheffield park nets top tennis award after £80,000 refurbishment

A park in Sheffield has been named Yorkshire's best community venue for tennis.

Friday, 15th December 2017, 4:39 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 2:15 pm
A coaching session on the tennis courts at Millhouses Park

More than £80,000 was spent refurbishing dilapidated courts at Millhouses Park, in the south of the city.

Bookings have increased nearly four-fold since the courts reopened this year, and they have also been used for coaching and to give more than 800 schoolchildren their first taste of the sport.

Alison Steel, partnership manager at Parks Tennis CIC; Paul Billington, director of culture and environment at Sheffield Council; and Jess Redfearn, community tennis manager at Parks Tennis CIC, with the award (photo: Tim Hardy Photography)

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The park was crowned best community venue at the annual Yorkshire Tennis Awards in Leeds on Monday.

Adrian White, Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) councillor for Yorkshire, who was among the judges, said: "Millhouses Park is a model for parks tennis that should be replicated throughout the country."

The courts at Millhouses Park, which also now host social tennis sessions every Saturday, were renovated as part of a community partnership between the LTA and Sheffield Council.

They are now run by the community interest company Parks Tennis, which also manages courts at eight other sites across Sheffield.

Alison Steel, partnership manager at Parks Tennis CIC; Paul Billington, director of culture and environment at Sheffield Council; and Jess Redfearn, community tennis manager at Parks Tennis CIC, with the award (photo: Tim Hardy Photography)

Paul Sheard, LTA regional tennis participation manager added: "We are delighted that Millhouses Park has been recognised for the huge progress that has been made growing tennis participation.

"Tennis in Millhouses Park has been transformed and the programme has gone from strength to strength."

The six all-weather courts at the park can be booked online for as little as £1 per person, and coaching is also available for players of all ages and abilities.

More than 20 courts across five sites have now been fixed since 2015 as part of the partnership between the LTA and Sheffield Council.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for parks, said: "For far too long the courts in Sheffield were run down but in a ground-breaking partnership we are proud to say that the city now offers residents across Sheffield the chance to play tennis either for free, or at little cost, at nine sites where you will find top-quality courts and coaching.

"Sheffield has produced some great tennis winners, such as former world number nine Roger Taylor and Wimbledon doubles champion Jonny Marray, and I am excited at the prospect of seeing the city produce tennis winners of the future."

To book a session, visit tennissheffield.com or call Sheffield Parks Tennis on 0114 349 1198.