South Shields Tennis Club launches appeal to help meet 'terrifying' costs after 12 months of Covid-19 leaves coffers depleted

South Shields Tennis Club has launched an appeal to help cover much-needed maintenance work to its playing facilities, as more residents look to take up the ‘Covid-friendly’ sport.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 6:00 am

The tennis club in Dean Road, formerly Westoe Lawn Tennis Club, has an initial target of £20,000 on its Crowdfund page.

Club secretary, Chris Grant said the organisation has lost around £100,000 of revenue since its bar and function space was forced to close in March 2020.

Cash is needed for maintenance work, including court refurbishment, and none of the club’s courts has a full set of working floodlights.

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The current floodlights (above, left) are in need of replacement, say club bosses; chairman, Mike McGurrell, appeals for financial support (above, right); Phil Givens, the club's head coach, hopes to see more residents taking up tennis during the Covid months (below, left); the playing surface is in need of maintenance work, the club says (below, right).

Bosses are now looking to fit out each court with new LED floodlights to ensure members are not forced to play in the dark or dim light.

"Some of the figures you get for this kind of work are terrifying,” Mr Grant said.

"We got a quote of around £9,500 just to get the courts refurbished. Everything - especially when you’re using Lawn-Tennis-Association-affiliated firms - is very expensive.

"This would not normally be covered by our membership fees, since they add up to a very modest sum. In normal times, we would have hopefully relied on the club for some support towards this work.

The tennis club's head coach, Phil Givens.

"All sports clubs rely on the function and the entertainment side for most of their revenue. And we’ve had virtually no turnover for the last year.”

Phil Givens, the club’s head coach, says the money raised will also go towards a drive to encourage more youngsters to get into the sport.

“Because of social distancing and other Covid restrictions, tennis is one of the best and safest sports you can play at the moment,” he told The Gazette.

"When tennis opens up on Monday, it’s expected to be one of the sports with the biggest take-up rates, along with golf. So it is thriving at the minute and we’re looking to get as many new people on board as possible because of this.

Club bosses say the court lines have become detached from the surface over the course of the winter, while sand for the all-weather facilities has worn away.

"I’ve found in this area that people are really into it – 50 kids took part in the camp we ran last summer and we’re doing some Easter camps at the moment, with about 30 kids signed up so far. So meeting this fundraising target would really help us as it would help provide better facilities for these kids.”

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Much-needed maintenance work to the courts' playing surface will make the facilities safer for young and old.
Mike McGurrell, the club's chairman, appeals to residents for support after a year of the pandemic has left the coffers depleted.
The club is looking to fit out the malfunctioning current court floodlights with new LED replacements.