A set of tennis courts in Swindon have officially reopened following a major refurbishment project and unexpected delays.

South Swindon Parish Council and the Lawn Tennis Association have worked together on the £140,000 investment to rejuvenate Quarry Road Tennis Courts in Old Town.

The work began in July 2023 but following flooding and drainage issues, they were forced to delay the reopening until Wednesday, June 12.  

Tennis players of all ages and abilities have been encouraged to get involved by the National Tennis Association (NTA) who will be managing the courts on a 12-year term, while paying rent to South Swindon Parish Council, who will use the money to fund ongoing maintenance.

Sammie, coach at the National Tennis Association, said: “Tennis is amazing for mental health and wellbeing, everything else just vanishes and your mind is focused on the ball and the game. These courts are important because it gives people the chance to be fit and active in nature, it’s a beautiful venue with the park nearby.

“Coaching is open to all ages. I’m coaching a group for three and four-year-olds at the moment and they’re already getting the ball over the net. We use compression tennis balls, so it’s easier for children to have a go and judge when to hit the ball.

"But it’s all about having fun and we all have to start somewhere. We’re planning on having open days and a session on Saturday mornings for people to come along and give it a go.

“We work with St Marks as well and we’re like one big family in Swindon. A lot of the time people really get the bug for it and especially when Wimbledon is on, people go mad for tennis.”

A family can book the courts for up to eight hours per week for just £50 for the whole year, while individual memberships start from £18 per month.

Vice-Chair of South Swindon Parish Council Rebecca Banwell-Moore said: “Swindon does have a lot to offer. We always tell our young people to take pride in their local areas, but don’t give them anything to feel proud of when things become run-down. But projects like this make sure they have nice places to go and things in the community to feel proud of.”

Linda Kasmaty, Old Town and East Wichel councillor, said: “It looks fantastic. It’s good value for money for the whole family to use all year round. A lot of the time we sit at home on our phones but people can come here to exercise and stay active. We wanted to open last year but this is the perfect time.”

David Griffiths, Old Town and East Wichel councillor, added: “We’ve got a summer of sport ahead with the Euros and Wimbledon. People watching it at home will think ‘well where can I go and do that’ and this court has just opened for them to use.

"We want to encourage people to be more active and actually it might have a knock-on effect with reducing the strain on the NHS if children are eating less ultra-processed foods and getting more exercise. It has lots of health benefits for people.”

James from the Lawn Tennis Association said: “We work nationwide to look at which tennis courts require improvement and we identified this one as needing quite a lot of work. It’s a great investment and we’ve already had 300 bookings so far.

“Floodlights might be added in the future if we have the bookings and lots of people are using the courts, St Marks has them already, so it’s an open conversation.”