VOLUNTEER-RUN park tennis clubs have been a huge success in Brighton and Hove over the last two years.
According to the LTA, the Queens Park Tennis Club has had the highest court utilisation (75%) of any park club in the London and South East area since 2019.
The number of players using the facility in this period (706) was more than double the region average (328), with court bookings (4,933) being 41% higher than any other in the area (2,968).
Another volunteer-run club, The Hove Park Tennis Alliance, has seen more than 300 new members since it became self-sufficient in 2017.
“We have seen a huge rise in participation numbers since the Queens Park Tennis Club CIC formed in 2017,” said the club’s marketing manager, Conrad Bruner, to Overtime Online.
“Volunteers care more about their tennis club than council workers. By improving the condition of our courts, promoting ourselves online, hosting events and boosting our coaching programme, we are now one of the most successful independent park clubs in the South East.”
These clubs are two of many in the city that are solely run by volunteers and reliant on self-generated income, thanks to the “Self-Managed Sport Facilities” policy initiated by the Brighton and Hove City Council in 2016.
In an aim to reduce public spending, the council started to encourage not-for profit organisations or community interest companies (CIC) to take ownership of its park’s sports facilities.
At a policy and resources meeting on 18 March 2021, due to the success of clubs like Queens Park, the council agreed to continue supporting this strategy.