Ambitious £220,000 plan to build indoor facility at Burnley Tennis Club will be 'a great asset' to town

Burnley Tennis Club is hoping to rally the community together in a bid to create a brand new indoor facility.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:45 pm
Tennis coach Imran Aswat (back row, far right) with members of Burnley Tennis Club who may soon be able to take advantage of indoor courts

The establishment, which is based in Lower Ridge Close off Belvedere Road, currently boasts six all-weather outdoor courts - three of which are floodlit - and a clubhouse.

Open all year, the club provides tennis amenities for more than 250 members as well as hosting coaching and playing provision for juniors as young as five-years-old up to the age of 16.

Current Lancashire Under-18s singles champion James Ashworth began his tennis journey at the club as did fellow teenager Roman Shafiq who has represented Pakistan's junior Davis Cup team.

Burnley Tennis Club members, from the left, Roman Shafiq, Steven Holt and Nick Holt

And current Lancashire senior doubles champion Mark Rushton-Woods - who has claimed the county title for the past three years - also began playing at the club from a very early age.

The club also benefits from the expertise of coach Imran Aswat, who was once ranked 1,038 in the world at singles and competed against current world No.2 and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev at youth level.

Aswat, who once beat former Australian Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund as a junior, has been the hitting partner of legendary women's player 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

He has coached some of Great Britain's top wheelchair tennis players and worked at the recent Tokyo Paralympics.

Along with providing tennis provision for social players, the club also boasts numerous open, ladies and mixed teams which compete in the East Lancashire League and Ribble League during the summer and winter.

The ambitious plan to create a permanent bubble structure over two of its existing courts will continue the club's evolution into one of the county's top tennis centres.

However, it comes at a cost with the project expected to cost in the region of £220,000.

The Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body of the game in the UK, is willing to stump up the cash in the form of a loan over a 10-year period, but the club is keen to raise as much money as possible over the next 12 months.

Club secretary Jez Palmer said: "We recently had a meeting with the LTA to explore our options with regards to creating an indoor facility at the club.

"The committee have decided that the club will push forward with potentially securing and developing an indoor structure which will be in the form of a tennis bubble, the bubble will be a permanent structure on courts 5 and 6.

"Financing such a project will come at a great cost of around £220,000 which will involve ground work, heating, lighting, electrical work and the structure itself

"The club will be looking to take this out as an interest-free loan over a 10-year period but ideally we want to raise a large amount to bring the loan amount down.

"To help support this we will now be spending the next 12 months on trying to raise as much money as we can towards the project with fundraising, sponsorship and exploring any additional funding."

The creation of indoor provision will also be a great asset for the community at large.

The club provides assistance for local schools in their delivery of sports programmes and competitions.

It also takes part in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which is a Government-led initiative to provide activities for children during the school holidays.

The club is also a centre for local people to become coaches and officials - providing sports leadership courses and volunteering opportunities.

Palmer added: "In order for this ambitious project to be a reality and successfully complete the club's long-term vision and achieve its business plan, which was outlaid nearly 10 years ago, we need help and support from all our members, families, friends and local business.

"Securing Indoor tennis provision will complete the full development of our facilities from clubhouse, grounds, lights, outdoor courts and indoor provision which will secure the club's long-term future."

If you are interested in helping the club's fundraising drive then please email [email protected] or contact Jez Palmer on 07825771762