Set for the season

St Chads Tennis Club coach Greg Porter who will be giving the clubhouse a lick of paint.

St Chads Tennis Club coach Greg Porter who will be giving the clubhouse a lick of paint.

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A COMMUNITY sports club is determined to serve up another successful year despite ongoing uncertainty over its future.

St Chad’s Tennis Club in Poulton is launching its 2013 programme of activities and is planning a series of improvements to its courts and clubhouse after signing its lease for the coming year.

Its Vicarage Road premises had been under threat for more than six years as the site, which is owned by St Chad’s Church and licensed to the club, was to form part of the proposed new health centre for the town. But with that plan having been shelved, and the latest licence now agreed, the 85-year-old club’s safety is guaranteed until March 2014.

Now the 80-plus members are turning their focus back to tennis and the club is investing around £5,000 in the facilities.

Chairman Gemma Jackson said: “The last six years has seen troubled times with the constant worry about what is happening with the redevelopment of the land. At the moment there is no specific plan and we have signed our licence for the next year so we can relax and focus on the tennis. We’re pressing ahead with some exciting plans for 2013, including some improvements to the courts and a lick of paint for the clubhouse, supporting our fantastic and growing junior section, and starting new classes.”

Organisers are optimistic about the club’s prospects and hope to attract new members through kids coaching camps, the first of which starts on Monday, open days and taster sessions.

Gemma added: “We may not know what the future holds but we are here now and we’re going strong. We get great support from our members who range from four to 77-years old. There is such a great atmosphere in the club with a fantastic juniors section injecting a lot of energy, and parents often getting involved too. We’re really looking forward to the coming year.”

It is still the church’s plan to replace the church hall, funded by a redevelopment of the whole Vicarage Road site when a suitable proposal is found. But there is no plan on the table at the moment, Rev Martin Keighley said: “We can’t say when it would happen but for the next 12 months those hiring the hall or licencing the courts are safe to do so.”

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