Tennis charity serves up free tennis lessons

By on 29/05/2014 in Culture, News

For:   Beginners in Yardley, Birmingham

Event:   One year of free tennis lessons in Birmingham

Date/Time:   Starting Sunday, 1 June 2014, 10am - 12noon for 50 weeks

Location:   Gilbertstone Recreation Ground, Manor House Lane, Yardley B26 1PF

National sports charity 'Tennis For Free' has served up an ace by investing in a 50 week programme of free tennis lessons at Gilberstone Recreation Ground in Yardley and is hoping hundreds of people across the area can make a racket at the Manor House Lane courts.

The charity is working in partnership with Birmingham City Council's Active Parks programme and local tennis coach James Keatley to provide free coach-led tennis sessions for all the family starting this Sunday 1 June between 10am-12noon for 50 weeks.  You don't even need a racket as all equipment is provided free of charge.

Karen Creavin, who leads Be Active, said: “We are delighted to support the Tennis for Free sessions in Gilbertstone Recreation Ground as part of our Active Parks programme. This builds on the success of our Be Active programme which has helped thousands of people across Birmingham to participate in sport for free.  Many people, for a variety of reasons, don't attend gyms and leisure centre preferring to exercise outdoors.  The Tennis for Free sessions offer a fun and enjoyable programme with two hours of exercise every Sunday morning.”

Professional tennis coach James Keatley and his team will run the programme at the Manor House Lane site and all ages and standards are welcome to take part.  He said: “We are giving the people of Yardley tennis for free and it doesn't matter if you are an absolute beginner, you played at school and haven't picked up a racket in twenty years or you haven't been able to play on a regular basis and develop your skills.

“Our Tennis For Free sessions are all about fun and enjoyment for all the family and not about coaching the perfect forehand.  Gilbertstone Recreation Ground is the perfect place to start your free tennis journey and we are very proud to be providing these free sessions in partnership with Tennis For Free and Birmingham City Council.  All you need to do is register and 'book in' at week and you just turn up…you don't even need a racket.”

Started in 2004 and celebrating a decade of getting over 150,000 people to hit tennis balls for free, Tennis For Free is a registered charity founded by comedian Tony Hawks.  It aims to create healthy, vibrant tennis communities on FREE public park tennis courts, support new tennis players of all ages and backgrounds, and show that tennis can be enjoyed by all. Tennis For Free supporters include Judy Murray (mother of GB No1 Andy), BBC tennis commentator Andrew Castle and ex Grand Slam winner Pat Cash.

Tennis For Free CEO, Paul Jessop said: “Having started as a website listing free parks tennis we now have an extensive free tennis programme across the UK with Yardley being our 23rd site and more in the pipeline for 2014.  With support from our sponsors, the Lawn Tennis Foundation (LTA) and the Tennis Foundation, we are partnering with local organisations such as Birmingham City Council and local tennis coaches like James and investing over the next three years into 50 Tennis For Free park sites across the UK helping approximately 40,000 new people to experience the TFF fun sessions.”

Keely Fowler LTA Birmingham Community Tennis Project Manager added: “We are very excited about the free activities being created for people to play tennis in Yardley through the Tennis for Free programme.  Gilbertstone Recreation Ground is a wonderful place in the heart of the community and having good local easy to access park facilities where you can play informally with your family and friends is really important to encourage people to play.”

You can register for Tennis For Free at Gilbertstone online at or for further information on Tennis For Free visit can also follow Tennis For Free on twitter @tennisforfree or contact tennis coach James Keatley on 07970 533649


For more media information about Tennis For Free, contact Julian Fisher at Townhouse Communications on 01543 258182 or 07970 715809.  Spokespeople from Tennis For Free are available upon request.

For more media information about Be Active and Active Parks contact Debbie Harrison at Birmingham City Council Press Office on 0121 303 4476.

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