Lawn Tennis Association rolls out £250m scheme for better access to tennis
If you've ever wanted to play tennis but been put off because it's too dark, or too wet or you can't book a court, help - it seems - is at hand.
The success of 10 pilot schemes in attracting greater grassroots participation in tennis has encouraged the Lawn Tennis Association to roll out a programme for more covered courts, more floodlights and easier access to the sport across the UK.
A total of £250m has been put aside by the sport's governing body for improvements to facilities nationwide.
The initiative, Transforming British Tennis Together, forms part of the LTA's central objective: to double the number of children playing tennis and to encourage adults to play year-round.
One of the pilot schemes - in Sheffield - has delivered a 54% increase in participation since 2015, on a £1.5m investment across six park venues.
"The impact [the scheme] has made to our tennis courts and clubs across the city has truly been incredible," said Jess Redfearn, manager at the Community Indoor Tennis Centre, Sheffield.
"The improved facilities mean I've seen more people playing and interested in taking lessons in our clubs, our parks, and at the university and college. I've particularly loved seeing more kids asking to play - and not just in the summer."
In rolling out the scheme nationwide, the LTA is aiming to deliver 750 newly covered indoor courts, more than 4,000 newly floodlit courts and nearly 3,000 court entry systems across the country over the next decade.
Half of the funding (£125m) will come from the LTA, with the other half contingent on bids for funding from tennis clubs, parks, local government, volunteers, coaches and businesses.
You can find out more about the scheme and information on how to secure funding for improvements to your local facilities at www.LTA.org.uk/TBTT.
And if you want to get involved in playing tennis, you can find courts and coaching resources near you with our inclusive Get Inspired guide.