Southwark Council to change its current approach and develop a long-term tennis strategy

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Tennis in our area is important because it encourages fitness; a sense of community and is beneficial for a wide range of age groups. Southwark Council has invested heavily in resurfacing public park courts in recent years and we would very much like to thank them for this.  The Council has a legitimate need to reduce its operating expenditure on tennis but it simply makes no sense to contract out public tennis in the way proposed.  The current tender process lacks a strategic context and does not provide a mechanism for tennis to achieve its full social impact which would require:

 1. delivering the Burgess Park Masterplan of October 2015 with additional courts and a redesign of the pavilion building;

2. providing consistent year-round access for teaching children living near park courts the game at an affordable cost to improve their health and wellbeing;

3. providing a pathway for children to develop as players and as the next generation of coaches and volunteers thus generating a sustainable community of players;

4. incorporating insights such as the Southwark Women Can report to make parks more welcoming for women to exercise in - this is important given the lower uptake of exercise by women and the benefits to their health and outlook;

5. making the game welcoming for new adult players and encouraging a sense of community;

6. presenting an inspiring vision to the Lawn Tennis Association and outside funding bodies to rectify years of external underinvestment in tennis in the borough.

7. to inspire and encourage volunteering and community involvement in tennis.

Given there is only one dedicated public tennis venue in the borough this has to be the hub for any meaningful long-term commitment to develop the game and the social benefits that follow.  A long-term strategy is needed before any contracting takes place. 

We are hoping to present to the Cabinet meeting on 9 May with a petition of 500 signatures.



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