Bedford bids for tennis funding

Johnny, two and a hlaf, getting his first taste of tennis.
Johnny, two and a hlaf, getting his first taste of tennis.

Russell Park’s tennis courts have been home to Bedford’s tennis-lovers for years and its about time they received a facelift.

Kiosk at the Park cafe owner, Emma Garrett, wants a piece of the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) £250 million investment to transform Bedford’s courts and facilities.

Residents enjoying coffee with Emma Garrett (middle).

Residents enjoying coffee with Emma Garrett (middle).

Emma hoped to improve tennis facilities with the growth of the kiosk and now wants to go a step further.

She said: “I’m so proud of what we’ve already achieved here at Russell Park.

“It’s great for the community to have somewhere not just to play tennis, but to meet and socialise at the Kiosk.

“The opportunity is there right now for us to come together with other local stakeholders, partner with the LTA and benefit from this record level of funding in ways the community wants.”

Left to right: Maureen Hallett, Emma Garrett, Gill Lake.

Left to right: Maureen Hallett, Emma Garrett, Gill Lake.

Applying for funding would mean a collaboration between the community and the council.

Nina Graveson-Bridge, community business manager for the LTA, said: “Schemes like Emma’s are an enormous part of what we are looking to invest in across the region.

“The programme is designed to support plans to resurface courts, install floodlights and put in place a digital access system to make it easy for people to book and play tennis, as well as creative community initiatives such as Kiosk at the Park.

“It would be great to see tennis here continue to thrive thanks to Emma’s ambitions.”

Councillor Sarah Holland, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Bedford Borough Council, said: “We are fortunate to have some excellent public tennis courts in our local parks and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the LTA to help improve participation in grass roots tennis.”

Local clubs, coaches, and businesses can register their interest in funds on the LTA website.