Eaton Park opens new floodlit tennis courts

Tennis in Norwich witnessed the dawn of a new era when four all-weather floodlit courts were officially opened at Eaton Park at the weekend.

The site, which has hosted tennis for almost a century, can now offer greatly increased opportunities for the local community to play the game.

The development of the courts was been made possible by a �150,000 grant from the Lawn Tennis Association, with support from Sport England, towards the total cost, with Norwich City Council contributing the remainder.

Alan Waters, deputy leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'Projects like this don't just happen by themselves, they begin as a vision and require the continued and determined efforts of all the partner organisations involved to turn them into reality.

'The city council's involvement in this project has featured a number of teams – including planning, parks and open spaces and sports development.

'Our partner organisations – the LTA, Sport England and Norwich Parks Tennis – have each played a key role in helping to deliver such a wonderful facility, and one which will serve future generations of keen tennis players so well.

'Once officially open, the park will offer a high quality, affordable programme, which will be run by Norwich Parks Tennis, to people of all ages and abilities.'

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The unveiling of the new facilities was part of an open day at the park, which highlighted the 'allplay' campaign, which is helping people to play tennis.

Courts were available for people to pick up a racket and have a go at the sport, while there were demonstrations of LTA Mini Tennis, cardio tennis and wheelchair tennis.

Sally Pearson, LTA Tennis Development Manager for Norfolk, said: 'This great new venture is the heart of a community parks tennis programme in Norwich. This facility provides an affordable tennis programme for people of all ages and abilities and makes tennis widely accessible to the local community.'

Caroline Blincoe, the LTA Head of County and Club Relations, added: 'I'm delighted to be here to see the new courts because I actually won my first tournament there. It's great to see so many people using them and enjoying them.'

Richard Lewis, Sport England's Chair, said: 'It's vital that public funding for sport goes into facilities that meet the highest standards, are welcoming, and cater for everyone. That's how we're going to get more people using them every day.

'The new facilities at Eaton Park will offer even more accessibility for its members and encourage more people from the local community to get involved in the sport.'