Tennis For Free scheme launches at Haringey’s Downshill Park

Joe Drane and Joshua Nzau

Joe Drane and Joshua Nzau - Credit: Archant

National sports charity ‘Tennis For Free’ has served up an ace for Haringey by investing in a programme of free tennis sessions at Downshill Park tennis courts starting on Saturday (June 22).

In an exciting partnership with Haringey Council and the LTA, Tennis For Free will provide free coach-led tennis sessions for all the family for one year as part of its aim to use tennis to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of all members of the community across the UK.

With over 100 schemes across the UK, Downshill Park is one of several similar schemes in the South East and the official launch on Saturday is from 11am-12.30pm.

Visitors are welcome, you don't need a racquet or a ball as all equipment is provided free of charge.

Lead scheme organiser Joe Drane said: "I am very excited to welcome Tennis For Free to Haringey. It is a fantastic opportunity for the local community to try tennis for either the first time, or to dust off the cobwebs after a time away from the sport.

"It's a fun, friendly and entertaining free weekly event where you'll make new friends and benefit from regular exercise. There is no catch, as the name suggests, everything is free."

Tennis For Free chief executive Paul Jessop added: "We are changing the image of tennis to a sport for all by removing the cost barrier so that members of all communities can play and benefit physically, mentally and socially.

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"Downshill Park is one of hundreds of schemes we are opening across the UK over the next five years as part of our plan to get more people playing this wonderful sport.

"We have created specially designed programmes to welcome families, the old and the young, of any ability and the beauty is that each session is led by qualified tennis coaches who will ensure people develop at their own pace.

"But it's not just about the playing. We have seen at our other schemes that small friendly community groups grow. This social cohesion is great to see especially for those who may not think tennis is for them but is for another member of their family.

"People can still stay involved and help run the schemes. We're always looking for local volunteers to grow the game, indeed some of our most successful and sustainable schemes across the UK have the coaches supported by a team of volunteers who organise further events which all contributes towards everyone's well-being."

Mandana Mehranpour, from the LTA, said: "We are very excited about the free activities being created for people to play tennis in Haringey through the Tennis for Free programme, and Downshill Park is a really accessible park in the heart of the community.

"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. But Tennis For Free is also about the ability to meet new people and develop friendships, taking regular exercise and simply having fun. It isn't about finding the next Andy Murray, but about making tennis accessible to all."

Haringey Cllr Kaushika Amin, Cabinet Member for Corporate & Civic Services, said: "Whether you've never picked up a racquet or are a seasoned regular there's no excuse not to visit the Tennis for Free sessions.

"Qualified coaches, all equipment provided, all for free. These sessions will benefit those with limited access to sport, enhance physical and mental well-being and re-energise people of all ages."

Sign up for Tennis For Free at Downshill Park every Saturday from 11am-12.30pm at and follow Tennis For Free on Twitter and Facebook @tennisforfree.