Let's ALL Play !
The Courts at the Winkleigh Sports Centre were installed some 20 years ago as part of the Sports Centre project we have today. Fully lit and fenced, with an established Tennis Club and Net Ball Group, the courts were buzzing with activity and were re-painted approximately 10 years ago continuing to attract players. Sadly, over the last few years, moss has damaged the surface of the courts and without the funding to correct the problem, the tarmac deteriorated. Large amounts of aggregate has been pushed through the surface causing the tarmac to become slippery underfoot. Even with regular sweeping, the aggregate continues to emerge as the surface continues to break apart. Without refurbishment, the courts will continue to degenerate and become unusable, wasting a valuable asset to our community.
At the Winkleigh Tennis Club our goal is to raise enough funds to re-surface and re-purpose our existing tennis courts for wider use in the community. The newly surfaced courts will accommodate Tennis of course but also Pickle Ball, (a short court "walking tennis") an activity perfect for seniors and persons with limited mobility or injury (also a great activity for the little ones!) We would also like to incorporate Net Ball as an alternative to racket sports. Adjacent to a fully equipped Sports Centre with it's own lockable "Tennis Room", the fully lit courts have access to private washrooms, a kitchenette and storage. All the essential elements are here and our community would benefit enormously from a safe, well maintained facility that can be enjoyed by all.
Phase 1 - "The big clean"
First the courts have to be power swept to remove all the aggregate, power washed to remove the moss, then sprayed to prevent further moss growth. Supply and installation of two new net posts to replace the sad and leaning ones all done by a certified courts contractor. But we are not afraid to get our hands dirty! Volunteers have already begun the process of removing a 1m swath of weeds and undergrowth from around the outside of the fencing and a heavy duty landscape fabric with wood clippings will be laid down to prevent them from growing back, again, all done by volunteers and donated materials. A new coded access key box will be installed allowing everyone to "pay and play"
Is this a tennis court or a beach ????
Phase 2 - "The pretty stuff"
Next, well this is when it gets exciting!...after minor repairs and an application of a polymer sealer, comes the paint. On court 2, application of paint and lines for Tennis, Pickle Ball and Net ball. On court 1, application of paint for Tennis only. New signage for rules of play, the installation of a practice wall and two new Net Ball nets will transform our shabby courts into something to be really proud of.
What the heck is Pickle Ball?
Pickle Ball is a fun, social sport gaining popularity quickly in the UK and widely played in the US and Canada. A form of "walking Tennis", Pickle ball is a cross between Tennis, Badminton and Table Tennis. Played on approximately half of a regular sized Tennis court with a paddle opposed to a racquet, virtually no running is required and is an excellent activity for seniors and those with limited mobility or players wanting to get active after injury.
In the past, Winkleigh had a thriving Net Ball Club but over the years, the deterioration of the courts combined with the pandemic have seen it collapse. Recently though, with the group have shown interest in re-establishing the Net Ball Club and will again begin play in October once the courts have been power swept for safety.
Our tennis club has seen it's membership shrinking, the courts are not only unsafe for meaningful play, they are a frustrating surface on which to play and nearly impossible for new players to learn on. We have what we affectionately call "The Winkleigh Bounce", which means, the ball could really end up anywhere! Tennis as an alternative to Football or Rugby, is a sport/activity that has no boundaries, is inexpensive to play and appeals to all activity levels and athletic abilities. Currently, the conditions of our courts do not lend to players with limited mobility, seniors or those wanting to learn and that's a shame, because as an outdoor activity, Tennis was one activity we could have enjoyed more throughout the pandemic. Children's exposure to the game of tennis and becoming active has proved a valuable tool against obesity and our involvement with the weekly local youth club has proved valuable in encouraging youths to become involved in sport. There has been increased interest in forming classes for primary school children within the community and we have reached out to local initiatives for assistance with volunteer coaching.
Well, we have managed to raise awareness of our project through social media, print and word of mouth and our fundraising efforts are paying off! We still need help to make this dream a reality. Loss of this facility would limit the scope for physical activity within our community and serve as a failure to provide a safe, well maintained venue for our citizens. So come on everyone!
Let's ALL Play !