Anyone for tennis over this Wimbledon fortnight? The opportunity is certainly there in South Shore thanks to an £8,000 investment in tennis facilities at Highfield Leadership Academy.
The Highfield Road school’s courts have been thoroughly developed to provide community tennis sessions for all ages thanks to funding from the Will to Win Foundation.
Steve Riley, the founder of Will to Win Ltd, was brought up on Highfield Road before leaving the area to study at Loughborough University and then launch his tennis and sports management career in Dubai.
Will to Win Ltd is a private management and development company for public and park sports, mainly tennis.
Now based in London, Steve has returned to his roots to launch the first Will to Win project in northern England. His company employs 50 staff and 50 coaches in the south-east.
The aim is to provide top-quality coaching and a fun tennis programme for all ages, with quality, affordable and accessible courts in the local community.
The adult and junior coaching programme is now under way, with players aged five to 85 already involved, and an open day will be held on July 20, with free coaching for everyone.
The academy has use of the courts during school days, while anyone joining the community sessions will get their first one free. All proceeds will go to Steve’s charity, the Will to Win Foundation, to help finance similar ventures.
Steve said: “I owe a lot to the Fylde tennis scene. I am from South Shore and played for the clubs here and in St Annes.
“ I won several county championships and tennis also taught me many life skills. It gave me the opportunity to build an exciting business.
“We want local kids to experience some of the opportunities I was fortunate to have and also to be able to enjoy sport on their doorstep.
“My parents still live here and the aim is to develop a thriving community centre for adults and kids, with links to the local tennis clubs.We are the largest private provider of public tennis in the UK.”
Community sessions are up and running for juniors and adults, with free coaching on Monday, July 15 (6pm for beginners and 7pm for improvers). For more information email email@example.com