Tennis stars Watson and Mirza join celebration for Birmingham park court opening
Tennis stars Heather Watson, the British No.1, and India’s Sania Mirza joined celebrations at Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park yesterday. The tennis players, who are both in action this week at the Aegon Classic Birmingham, helped open the newly refurbished courts that will offer free tennis to all. Cannon Hill Park will form a key site for a series of free tennis programmes across the city.
LTA President, Cathie Sabin, Steven Hollingsworth, Assistant director of Sport, Events and Parks at Birmingham City Council, and Rob Bray, CEO of Edgbaston Priory Club, joined the tennis stars and a host of local school children for the ceremony.
The £150,000 overhaul of the five courts in the Birmingham city centre park was funded by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) with support from Birmingham City Council (BCC) and the Edgbaston Priory Club.
Edgbaston Priory Club, the venue for the Aegon Classic Birmingham, will manage and run programmes for all five courts that will focus on bringing tennis opportunities to all communities and backgrounds.
The LTA, BCC and Sport Birmingham will also be working across an additional five sites in the city providing free community tennis programmes as part of the Active Parks programme.
The Active Parks initiative allows Birmingham residents to be able to participate in a wide range of physical activities sure to improve health and wellbeing whilst having a lot of fun. The tennis programmes will take place at Cannon Hill Park, Summerfield Park, Ward End Park, Aston Park, Calthorpe Park and Handsworth Park.
The LTA have identified Edgbaston Priory Club to work with BCC in partnership to deliver the tennis offer for Active Parks in Year 1, building on their existing community successful outreach programme at Lordswood School.
Cathie Sabin, LTA President, said:
“I am delighted to be part of the official opening of Cannon Hill Park which will provide free tennis programmes to the local community and form a key part of the Active Parks programme taking place at sites across the city.
Community sites like Cannon Hill Park are the cornerstone of our mission to get more people playing tennis more often. The LTA knows that we cannot achieve this alone so I am delighted that we are working in partnership with the Birmingham City Council, Sport Birmingham and the Edgbaston Priory Club to deliver this fantastic programme of tennis.
With the same partners we are also working across another five sites in Birmingham bringing a free tennis offer to people from all communities across the city as part of Birmingham City Councils Active Parks Scheme. Working with our fantastic partners we hope to get people across Birmingham playing tennis more often”.
Speaking at the event, the British No.1 Heather Watson said:
It’s great to see so many people on these courts. They look great and will give local people a fantastic opportunity this summer, and beyond, to get playing.”
On the free tennis initiative Watson added,
Making tennis as accessible as possible for as many people is key to growing the game and these programmes will help to do that.”
There are still a limited number of tickets available for the Aegon Classic Birmingham. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.lta.org.uk/major-events/aegon-classic-birmingham
For information on the hospitality packages on offer at The Aegon Classic Birmingham head to www.lta.org.uk/major-events/aegon-classic-birmingham/aegon-classic-hospitality or contact Elliot Sheasby on firstname.lastname@example.org
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