A community tennis programme at Cannon Hill Park run by Edgbaston Priory Club, home of the Aegon Classic Birmingham, has been awarded ‘National Community Venue of the Year’ by the Aegon British Tennis Awards.
The programme opened in June 2015, following a £150,000 refurbishment of the courts funded by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) with support from Birmingham City Council (BCC).
One year on, the Cannon Hill Park programme has over 2,000 people registered to play for free on the courts, 180 children and adults registered on the coaching programme and 60 players registered in the Birmingham Park leagues.
Additional funding from Give it your Max and the International Club of Great Britain has been essential in enabling the programme to engage with over 1,000 children a term through local schools, offer free coaching and rackets to the local community and develop sessions for people with learning disabilities.
The Cannon Hill Park programme has been led passionately by Edgbaston Priory Club coach, Stuart Maidment:
“I am very proud to receive this award which is recognition of the hard work and dedication shown by the whole team involved in the delivery of the Cannon Hill Park programme.
“From Day One of the reopening of the courts, we have been overwhelmed by the interest and enthusiasm shown by the local community. This demonstrates what an appetite there is to play the great sport of tennis if accessible facilities can be provided and we are grateful to all our funders for making this possible.
The Cannon Hill Park programme is part of a wider partnership between the LTA, Edgbaston Priory Club, BCC and Sport Birmingham to provide facilities for people across Birmingham to play tennis for free.
Claire Brown, Head of the Midlands LTA said: “The Cannon Hill Park programme has been a fantastic success story for tennis in the Midlands and this national award recognises this achievement. Making tennis as accessible as possible for as many people as possible is key to growing the game and the Cannon Hill Park programme has done just that.”
“We know this cannot be achieved alone and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Birmingham City Council and Sport Birmingham through the Active Park Scheme together with our key funders on delivering more fantastic programmes of tennis across the city.”
Speaking about the future of Cannon Hill Park, Stuart Maidment says:
“The courts at Cannon Hill Park are regularly fully booked and we’re keen to build two more floodlit courts to meet the growing demand. We’re also keen to develop disability tennis across all our community schemes and, of course, there are many other courts in parks across the city we would like to renovate and develop for local use.”
For Edgbaston Priory Club enquiries
Julie O’Hare – Marketing & Communications Manager
For LTA Midlands Participation enquiries:
Anna Birkinshaw- Tennis Participation Manager- Midlands