As a resident of East Kilbride, near Glasgow, I was disappointed recently when I saw Andy Murray criticise the standard of the local community tennis facilities in my hometown. Looking at the pictures he wasn’t wrong. It got me thinking of where the next closest facility is, and it took me a while to work out where it was. I would have to travel 15-20 minutes to find any other courts, which was a surprise for such a popular sport and in an urban area.
Scotland is massively dominated by the love of football, which can come at the detriment to other sports. Participation is key for any sport and building this and creating welcoming environments where young people want to come and play (unlike those courts which Sir Andy rightly hit out at) does, ultimately, hinge on finances and funding.
So how do you draw people into the world of tennis? Heroes such as Andy Murray help to inspire young people, showing them that kids from areas similar to theirs can reach the very top. I firmly believe that giving young people the opportunity to participate in as many different sports as possible will create more well-rounded athletes and make them better people. The key to achieving this, as with anything, is funding. In a country where one sport is so very dominant, it can be difficult to see funding distributed to progress other sports. That is where clubs tucked away in the community need to think for themselves and take opportunity which come their way to develop additional revenue streams, independent of local authorities and governing bodies.
Play Fund Win can help clubs like these to maximise their income by highlighting the positives that tennis clubs can bring to the community. They offer an avenue for kids to be more active, learn the skills and disciplines associated with an individual sport and create new relationships.
North of the border, pathways lead to Stirling University for Scottish performance tennis and the fantastic facilities giving young people a clear route to a potential career but also an education. The same is true of the National Tennis Centre in London. It is my hope that the local authorities will invest in the facilities so that the opportunity is there for the next Andy Murray to come from East Kilbride. But clubs should also be proactive, to ensure that they offer facilities which are safe and welcoming for the next generation of players.
Play Fund Win will give you all the help and support you need to maximise your fundraising capabilities, whilst keeping your time free to focus on the key purpose of your club – the players and the sport.
To have an informal conversation with me about fundraising for your sports club, please get in touch on: David.Gray@playfundwin.com