Tennis charity brings free sessions to Blackpool for a year

Providing Tennis for Free in Blackpool are (from left) Danielle Whitehouse (lead coach), Martin Hibberd (Blackpool Council) and Leah Wilkinson (coach)
Providing Tennis for Free in Blackpool are (from left) Danielle Whitehouse (lead coach), Martin Hibberd (Blackpool Council) and Leah Wilkinson (coach)
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National sports charity Tennis For Free is serving up free coaching sessions for all ages at two Blackpool parks for a whole year.

Starting this Sunday, free coach-led sessions for the family will take place weekly at Cavendish Road and Highfield Road.
Blackpool Council and the Lawn Tennis Asssociation have teamed up with Tennis For Free in a bid to use tennis to improve the physical and mental well-being of people throughout the community.
The Highfield session takes place from 9.30-11am and the Cavendish Park session follows from 11.30am-1pm.
Everything is free: rackets will be provided and there are no court fees.
The sessions are supervised by qualified instructors and you can sign up for either site at www.tennisforfree.com
Lead scheme organiser Danielle Whitehouse said: “I am very excited to welcome Tennis For Free to Blackpool to join the other 100-plus Tennis For Free sites across the UK. This is a fantastic opportunity for the community to try tennis for the first time or to dust off the cobwebs after a time away from the sport.
“It’s a fun, friendly and entertaining free weekly event, where you’ll make new friends and benefit from regular exercise.”
Tennis For Free CEO Paul Jessop said: “We are changing the image of tennis to a sport for all by removing the cost barrier so that members of all communities can play and benefit physically, mentally and socially.
“But it’s not just about the playing. We have seen at our other schemes that small friendly community groups grow.
“People can still stay involved and help run the schemes. We are always looking for local volunteers to grow the game.”
Allison Lewis from the LTA said: “We are very excited about the free activities being created for people to play tennis in Blackpool through the Tennis for Free programme. Both sites are really accessible parks in the heart of the community.
“Having good local easy-to-access park facilities is really important to encourage people to play.
“But Tennis For Free is also about the ability to meet new people and develop friendships, taking regular exercise and simply having fun.”
Coun. Don Clapham of Blackpool Council said: “Whether you’ve never picked up a racket or are a seasoned regular, come along to either venue on a Sunday morning. These sessions will benefit those with limited access to sport, enhance physical and mental well-being and re-energise people of all ages.”
Tennis For Free has plans to bring more than 175,000 new tennis players, 2,000 coaches and 5,000 volunteers into the sport over the next five years.
TFF works with local authorities and tennis clubs up and down the country, and currently funds around 200 professional coaches .