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Financial pressures for Grantham Tennis Club as it ‘slips through net’ of Government help




Grantham Tennis Club has struggled through the lockdown as “one of the charitable businesses that are slipping through the net” of Government help.

Now that the club has been able to reopen, financial pressures have eased slightly – but more help is needed.

Club manager Sarah Patton said: “Financially, we are glad to have some revenue coming back into the club. Although we have been very fortunate that some of our members were in a position to carry on paying their membership while we were closed, the majority were not.

Family of four: Matt and Paula Fleckney, Aaron and LJ Fleckney (35309864)
Family of four: Matt and Paula Fleckney, Aaron and LJ Fleckney (35309864)

“Tennis membership is only a small percentage of the club’s income.

“Despite being able to access the Government furlough scheme for the staff, and the small number of staff that have remained taking a reduction in salary, all other avenues for Government financial help have, to date, been unavailable.

“We are one of the charitable businesses that are slipping through the net. We are busy exploring all options and are waiting to see if we will receive a grant from Sport England.”

The club set up a Virgin Money Giving fund-raising page – tinyurl.com/ya67frdf – for its members, and their family and friends, who are doing the ‘2.6’ charity challenge, which asks participants to take part in any activity featuring a 2.6 to raise money.

Tennis was declared a ‘safe sport’ by the Government on May 13. Grantham Tennis Club re-opened for outdoor tennis the following day with strict guidelines to make playing tennis safe.

Two people only are allowed on the court unless from the same household, when four are allowed.

As well as observing the social distancing rules and public health hygiene guidelines that everyone is used to at the supermarket, the LTA (tennis’ national governing body) has introduced other new procedures for playing tennis during the lockdown. These include no shaking hands or high fives at the end, only handling your tennis balls (players mark with initials) and avoiding changing ends or change at the opposite of the net.

The club has worked very hard to ensure it can open the courts safely (the clubhouse, indoor courts, gym, café and art gallery remain shut). It has introduced a booking scheme that is accessed by ringing or emailing the club so that only those playing tennis are on-site and the club knows who they are and are confident that all the LTA and club players’ essential guidance has been read.

Players can go straight to the court unless they need to buy tennis balls, which are sold safely through the temporary reception.

Sarah said: “We take our responsibility very seriously in ensuring all is done to keep tennis a safe sport and, although there are restrictions, people are delighted to get on to court.”

Good mental health and wellbeing are essential for all, and tennis, like other sports, can help with that. It boosts one’s mood, raises self-esteem, relieves stress and anxiety and reduces the risk of depression.

Community and wellbeing are essential to the club. It was the recipient of the LTA regional Disability Programme of the Year award and is waiting to see if it has won the national award.

To join the club, send an email to info@granthamtennisclub.co.uk or call 01476 591391.



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