Tennis club rejuvenated since new membership scheme launched
- Credit: Paul Solomon
Tennis coach who invested £2,000 of his own money to rejuvenate "barely used" courts is now fulfilling a lifelong dream to teach the sport he played for over 40 years.
Paul Solomon opened Loddon Tennis Club's new membership scheme on Saturday June 4 as it became the newest tennis club in Norfolk.
Mr Solomon said: "The courts have always been there but were barely used, taking approximately three bookings a week.
"In the six weeks since I launched the membership scheme we have acquired 60 members from zero, split roughly equally between juniors and adults.
"I am delighted by the uptake in members in such a short space of time. Other than the football club, there isn't too much variety for local people to engage in sport."
Mr Solomon explained that the price of a single tennis ball has risen due to inflation by 100pc, with 200 balls now costing approximately £350.
"Our prices are as affordable as they can be as we really want to encourage growth in participation for tennis and the community, it is £5 to hire the court for an hour, but if you play more than once a month it is cheaper to pay £60 for an annual membership, while those under 11 play for free," he said.
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Claire Preston is new a member of the tennis club, having recently moved to Norfolk from Essex, and finds that the tennis club has enabled her to make new friends.
Mrs Preston said: "I have been encouraged and motivated by playing ladies tennis, cardio tennis sessions have been great for us to do as a family.
"The music playing whilst working on techniques makes it feel like you are not exercising, but having more of a fun social time alongside friends.
"There are lots of chats and laughter and knowledge shared amongst us - who knew you couldn't touch the net with your racquet whilst in a game.
"It would be great to have more people join our friendly and welcoming club," she said.
Mr Solomon is also a part of the national governing body for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Norfolk management team, and has ambitions to, with the support of the local council, promote and encourage participation levels for the sport by showing people the mental, physical and social wellbeing benefits being a member of the tennis clubs has.
Jeremey Rowe, South Norfolk councillor for Loddon and Chedgrave, said: "I am really excited to see more tennis opportunities in the area.
"It is great for the community, a brilliant sport for relieving stress and competing competitively.
"I have been and played myself in Paul's cardio tennis session, which was well attended with a great positive atmosphere, and I am keen to support these sporting initiatives going forward."
Mr Solomon said: "The club continues to offer their 'Pay and Play' option to non-members, however, with our affordable membership options, we really hope we can start to build a fantastic tennis community within Loddon, so that many can enjoy this beautiful game for many years to come."
Loddon Tennis Courts are owned jointly by Chedgrave and Loddon Parish Council and managed by Loddon Parish Council on behalf of the Loddon and Chedgrave Playing Field Committee.
To become a member, book a court or for more information about the facility then please visit the website: https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/LoddonTennisClub