Cllrs Naqvi and Schneiderman with locals opening Sunnyhill Park Tennis courst
Barnet Council and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have completed a £1.2million transformation of 39 tennis courts across 14 of borough’s parks as part of a joint initiative to ensure high quality tennis facilities for residents, get more people active and open up the game to more people.
Barnet Council contributed almost half (£545,101) of the total funds, with £688,451 coming from the UK Government and LTA as part of a nationwide programme to transform thousands of park tennis courts.
A number of the courts have undergone extensive work to ensure viability for years to come, including resurfacing, repainting, new fencing, new nets and posts and new gate access systems. Work to refurbish a further five courts at Northway Gardens is scheduled to begin in November.
Alongside the renovations, Barnet Council will also work with the LTA and coaching providers to offer a range of activities across the park sites.
These include weekly organised free park tennis sessions for all ages, playing levels and experience where equipment is provided, so people will not need their own racket to play.
Marking the reopening of tennis courts, councillors picked up their rackets and took to the refurbished Sunny Hill Park courts.
Speaking between sets, Councillor Ammar Naqvi, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Arts & Sports, said:
“We want Barnet to be a place where sports and leisure facilities are available to all. We’re thrilled to be working with the LTA to provide the chance to help improve our residents’ health and wellbeing while having fun on the tennis courts.
“This initiative is just one of the many ways we’re dedicated to delivering for our residents, and maybe one day we can say that a future Wimbledon champion was inspired to start playing tennis in Barnet.
Julie Porter, Chief Operating Officer at the LTA, said:
“After months of hard work, we’re delighted to see park tennis courts across Barnet officially back open to the public, and in better shape than ever.
“Public tennis courts are such vital facilities for getting active and we want as many people as possible, of all ages and abilities, to pick up a racket and enjoy playing tennis. Thanks to this investment the sport will be opened up to more players, for years to come.”
Stuart Andrew MP, Sports Minister, said:
“We are committed to levelling up access to sport which is so important for the nation’s physical and mental health.
“The Government and the LTA are working together to deliver thousands of refurbished courts across Great Britain, supported by £30 million of investment including in Barnet.
“These improved tennis facilities in Sunnyhill Park will provide the local community with fun opportunities to get active and potentially become the next Andy Murray or Emma Raducanu.”
The renovated tennis courts are in: Bittacy Hill Park, Child’s Hill Park, Edgwarebury Park, Friary Park, Halliwick Recreation Ground, Hendon Park, Lyttleton Playing Fields, Mill Hill Park, New Southgate Recreation Ground, Northway Gardens (to be opened in spring 2024), Oak Hill Park, Old Courthouse Recreation Ground, Princes Park and Sunnyhill Park. Additionally courts are also available at Bethune Recreation Ground, Cherry Tree Woods, Montrose Playing Fields, Rushgrove Park, Stonegrove Park, Tudor Sports Ground, West Hendon Park and Victoria Park (Finchley). All of our venues now benefit from a booking system and access control gates.
Information on how to find your local tennis court, how to book and how to get started can be found here: Tennis in Barnet | Barnet Council
Park tennis courts are vital in providing opportunities for children and adults to get active, delivering significant physical and mental health and well-being benefits to participants. Accessible facilities in parks are particularly critical to opening up the sport to those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and women and girls.