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Future Wimbledon stars could be created in Stafford with free tennis coaching at Rowley Park

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 04, 2014

ROWLEY PARK TENNIS

ROWLEY PARK TENNIS

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FUTURE Wimbledon stars could have free coaching served up in Stafford under new plans to provide sessions in the town's Rowley Park.

Coaches from Baseline Tennis Centre, based at Stafford Sports College, are hoping to go out on to the public courts and run sessions in a bid to drive up interest in the sport.

The centre has the backing of Stafford Borough Council and would hire the courts to provide coaching throughout the year.

The aim is to launch the project in September. It is hoped the scheme could eventually be extended to Stone.

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Martin Rock, manager of the not-for-profit Baseline Tennis Centre, said: "We have LTA coaches here who would work at set times. We are hoping to get Tennis for Free involved but if not we will fund it from within our own budget.

"We would run it throughout the year and if the weather is bad, we can possibly move sessions inside to the Baseline courts.

"Our aim is to get more people playing tennis more often and to give them a choice. A lot of people just want to go to a park and play. If we can provide coaching as well, then even better."

The news comes as funding to provide separate weekly coaching free of charge for three years at both Rowley and Stone's Westbridge Park has fallen through. However the scheme could now run at another venue in Stafford, which would mean a raft of free tennis being on offer in the town.

The cash, from national charity Tennis for Free, was given to Stafford-based Impact Tennis to run sessions as part of the charity's bid to provide a free tennis sites at public parks throughout the country.

But the deal hinged on the courts being available free of charge for two hours each week for the sessions, as well as being free for the public to use for a further 12 hours, which the council felt unable to accept.

Stuart Twigg, of Impact Tennis, said: "We are disappointed that the council turned the project down, especially with the level of support that would have been provided for a three-year programme.

"However, it now looks possible that the scheme will run at another venue in Stafford."

A Stafford Borough Council spokesman added: "Working with Baseline means all funding goes back into tennis and that local clubs will be promoted so that our young people who are interested in the sport will have the chance to continue playing if they want to, having first experienced it for free."

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