By investing in a year-long programme of free tennis sessions, Tennis for Free are hoping hundreds of people across the area can make a racquet at the tennis courts at Albert Park. In an exciting partnership Middlesbrough Council, Tennis For Free will help provide free coach-led tennis sessions for all the family.
The official launch will be Saturday 8 September between 10-11:30 and everyone is welcome. You don’t need a racquet or a ball as all equipment is provided free of charge. Sign up for Tennis For Free Albert Park now at www.tennisforfree.com
Local tennis coach and lead site organiser Ben Smuk said: "We are all very excited to welcome Tennis For Free to Albert Park. It is a fantastic opportunity for all members of the local community to get into the spirit of trying tennis for either the first time or to dust off the cobwebs and try again. You can bring your own racquet if you wish, but don’t worry all equipment is provided and as the name suggests, everything is free!”
Tennis For Free is a registered charity founded by comedian Tony Hawks and fashion executive Patrick Hollwey. It aims to provide healthy, vibrant local tennis communities for free on public park tennis courts creating new tennis players of all ages and backgrounds and showing that tennis can be enjoyed by all. Tennis For Free supporters include Judy Murray (mother of former World No1 and three-time Grand Slam winner Andy), BBC tennis commentator Andrew Castle and ex Grand Slam winner Pat Cash.
Tennis For Free CEO Paul Jessop said: “Albert Park is one of many sites we are opening across the North East in 2018 and is one of hundreds more schemes we are planning within the next five years across the whole of the UK. All our sessions are very well suited to the whole family coming down and all playing tennis at the same time. There are no catches, all equipment is provided.
“The sessions are perfect for that first taste of tennis or for getting back into the game in a fun and relaxed manner but with all equipment provided and coaches in attendance to help out. We hope many people, of all ages and abilities, will come and join us at the Saturday sessions.”
Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member with responsibility for sports development, said: “The success of home-grown players like Andy Murray and Heather Watson in recent years has seen a resurgence in the popularity of tennis.
“It’s a great way to keep in shape and socialise, and these local sessions might just unearth the next great champion.
Tennis For Free has plans to bring more than 175,000 new tennis players, 2,000 coaches and 5,000 volunteers into the sport over the next five years. The charity, which runs free community tennis sessions at public parks across the UK, is working with several partners to bring the opportunity to play the game to as many hard to reach communities as possible, benefiting those with limited access to sport, enhancing physical and mental well-being and re-energising people of all ages. The new partnerships will boost the network of free tennis schemes by hundreds nationwide, launching in Wales and Northern Ireland as well as increasing its sites in England and Scotland, making it a truly national community led programme.
Tennis For Free (TFF), which works with local authorities and tennis clubs up and down the country, currently funds around 200 professional tennis coaches who are supported by volunteers to offer weekly sessions to people of all ages and backgrounds at its 70 sites. Everything is free for participants - equipment is provided and there are no court hire costs. It will also bring more people, especially from disadvantaged communities, into physical activity and reinvigorate under-used local parks.
Sign up for Tennis For Free Albert Park www.tennisforfree.com. You can also follow Tennis For Free on Twitter and Facebook @tennisforfree