Leith Links tennis courts were officially opened today with the help of pupils from nearby primary schools.
The opening signals the end of all the building work and the official start of free tennis in the park.
Needless to say, everyone at Greener Leith is delighted that the facility has finally been completed. The proposal was first given community backing as long ago as 2008 when Greener Leith coordinated the Leith Links Ask community consultation on the future of the park.
It’s taken five years of hard work from council officials and local councillors – particularly former councillor for the area Marjorie Thomas – to get the £80k needed to build the courts and to their credit, today saw their task finally completed.
A council statement explained: “The facility fills a gap in public tennis provision in Edinburgh, with no other similar facilities in Leith. Planned activities include an on-going focus on working with local schools, free taster sessions for schools and adults next spring, summer holiday courses, Tennis Leader courses for secondary school pupils, and weekend and after-school sessions later in 2014. In addition, local people will also have the opportunity to improve their petanque skills in the new terrain provided.
“Council Parks’ officers, in partnership with the Leith Links Steering Group was the driving force behind the project, The steering group is made up of Greener Leith members, local councillors, Council officers and local sports’ representatives. The facility was built by Doe Sport Ltd in association with the Council using grants from Sportscotland (£38,000), the LTA (£30,000 and the East of Scotland branch of the LTA (£1,000).”
Councillor Hinds said: “It is very exciting to see this project become a reality and it is fantastic to see this area being used for such a worthwhile facility. Tennis is a great all-rounder – it’s fun, healthy, sociable and thanks to venues such as this, it’s also very affordable. The Council sees these new facilities on Leith Links as a catalyst for further improvements to this historic park and will be working closely with local schools and community to realise these in the near future.
“Scotland has already produced a Wimbledon champion and who knows, a future champion could be moving up the ranks in Edinburgh thanks to affordable facilities such as this,” she added.
According to Edinburgh Leisure, the facilities will be free to use over the winter, whilst the access arrangements for the summer are still to be confirmed.
— Edinburgh Leisure (@Ed_Leisure) October 31, 2013
The event generated a fair bit of media interest. Below you can see some of the tweets from the day.
— Graeme Gardiner (@graeme_gardiner) October 31, 2013
— Chas Booth (@CllrChasBooth) October 31, 2013
— Deidre Brock (@DeidreBrock) October 31, 2013
Although today was the formal opening event for the tennis courts – they’ve been playable for a couple of weeks already. Have you had a chance to try them out yet? What do you think?
Photo credit: Tracy Griffen