Redbridge Tennis Club at risk of closing

The Redbridge Tennis Centre is at risk of closure without support through a sports recovery fund.

The Redbridge Tennis Centre is at risk of closure without support through a sports recovery fund. - Credit: Archant

The Redbridge Tennis Club is at risk of closing as the national governing body for tennis warns a third of indoor centres could shut without a comprehensive sports recovery bailout.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), which supports a network of 54 Community Indoor Tennis Centres (CITCs), across the country, including the club in Forest Road, Barkingside, has warned that at least a third of its centres could face closure despite a recent government announcement of a £100m investment in public leisure facilities.

The LTA has called for urgent support through a sports recovery fund to protect jobs and safeguard tennis facilities in the coming months.

The centres deliver a range of tennis activities, including junior programmes and the Open Court disability programme, which promotes opportunities for disabled persons to get involved in the sport.

John Golding, LTA head of region for London & South East, said: “Facilities like Redbridge Tennis Centre play a pivotal role in supporting mental and physical health among people of a range of ages, abilities and disabilities.

“We have been delighted with the increase in participation in our sport this summer, but are very concerned about the future of CITCs that are so crucial to helping open up the sport to more people all year round.”

He said that while he welcomes the £100m investment into public leisure, it won’t be sufficient because the money will be spread thinly across a large range of publicly owned sports and leisure facilities.

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He added: “The current restrictions across Britain still mean the number of people who can use these centres is significantly less than in normal circumstances, which will continue to have a huge impact on their financial viability as we move into a difficult winter.

“We are calling for the government to deliver a Sports Recovery Fund, which is urgently needed to help protect these facilities over the coming months.”

CITCs in Tier 2 and 3 areas are not allowed to open.

Despite being allowed to re-open in July and August, most centres have continued to operate at a loss with only a minimum amount of staff returning from furlough.