Expansion of tennis club is well underway

MLA Paul Givan, Downshire Chairman George Lucas, Former Ulster Junior Open Champion Emily Beatty, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett, Former Irish Junior Champion Sam Bothwell, Downshire Club Captain Gillian Cartmill, Stephen Toal Alpha Funding Programme, Melvyn Waddell, Groundwork NI. Pic by Freddie Parkinson

MLA Paul Givan, Downshire Chairman George Lucas, Former Ulster Junior Open Champion Emily Beatty, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett, Former Irish Junior Champion Sam Bothwell, Downshire Club Captain Gillian Cartmill, Stephen Toal Alpha Funding Programme, Melvyn Waddell, Groundwork NI. Pic by Freddie Parkinson

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Staff at Downshire Tennis Club were joined by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett and visiting dignitaries, as they celebrated the first phase of the development of two new covered tennis courts.

The finishing touches are being put to the first phase development for two new state of the art courts at one of the local area’s oldest clubs.

Established in 1934, Downshire Tennis Club has been working on their development plan for the past ten years.

Club Chairman, George Lucas described how Downshire Tennis Club has seen its membership increase from 100 members in 1994 to an average of over 500 members across the last decade.

“At Downshire Tennis Club, we provide opportunities for 3 to 93 year olds, to play tennis and enjoy a healthy sport for life, where all ages, abilities and backgrounds are made welcome and can integrate into the community.

“Indeed, we offer ten weeks free coaching at the Club in partnership with eight local schools and in so doing promote tennis as a healthy sport for life.”

Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett, said: “Downshire Tennis Club is one of the oldest standing clubs in the Lisburn area and I am delighted that the development is now underway.

“The new state of the art tennis courts will be an excellent addition to the club and I hope they will inspire greater participation within the local community.

“The facility not only caters for the competitive tennis player but also provides a platform for beginners as well as those who just want to try something different – now is the perfect opportunity to pick up a racquet and give it a go.

“I would like to congratulate the committee on their work to date and wish the club every success in the future,” concluded the Mayor.

Local MLA Paul Givan said, “Downshire Tennis Club is a really good example of a club serving the community, where people of all ages and backgrounds can play a healthy sport, make friends and have fun. I wish the club continued success for the future.”

Stephen Toal, representing the Alpha Programme said: “The Alpha Programme has supported this development with £50,000 of funding generated from the Mullaghglass landfill site and it is great to see the project progressing.”

The current project is part of a threefold strategy, which seeks to increase participation of tennis, create a multisport facility and develop a performance sports facility which meets the needs of community participants and high performance athletes.