Pay to Play Tennis: Social Exclusion

Andrew Johns, 04 July 2016, Tags:

 

Letter from Andrew Johns to local press. Story picked up by Chingford Times, article "What a racket! Pay to play tennis courts in Chingford - disappointed players"

 

Original letter follows:

 

Dear Sirs,

It appears that the council is taking steps to remove all the free tennis courts in the borough, making them membership-only. Individual memberships are £30 a year. For a family (2 adults and up to 3 children) the cost is £45 a year. And for use of the newly refurbished Ridgeway facilities, it costs a further £5 to use the courts each time. How long before other courts around the borough are refurbished and follow suit?

I know from experience that this will hit families from the poorest backgrounds, who can’t afford their own rackets or tennis balls, let alone the cost of annual membership - worse still if they have to travel further to reach courts that are still free to use.

With rising obesity levels in children, I'm not sure the free "Tennis Weekends" the council are promoting will be enough to help buck this trend. It's usually the poorest who have the poorest health, and are most in need of fun ways to get fit and active. Restricting access to tennis courts will only serve to exclude a significant percentage of the borough's population from this opportunity.

Kind regards,

Andrew Johns

Joint Coordinator
Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party

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