In celebration of the building’s 20th birthday, the South Devon Tennis Centre is hosting a party. A full day of celebrations with a BBQ and of course, on court activities for the whole community on Saturday 27th May.

Many families already enjoy ‘Tennis for Free’ every Saturday in term time, so the party will kick off on Saturday 27 May, with an extended Tennis For Free session for the whole family. 11:30 – 2pm (Please book to let us know you are coming as normal) BOOK HERE

This will be followed by an afternoon of free play for adults from 2 o’clock and go on throughout the afternoon finishing at around 6pm. (It’s free, but please book to let us know you are coming) BOOK HERE

THE HISTORY

It was 28th May 2003 when the current Tennis Centre building in Ivybridge was formally opened by LTA Chief Executive John Crowther. The £1.7 million development (2003 valuation) was featured in an article in British Tennis Magazine called “Design for the Future”, and it really was a modern tennis centre to be proud of.  It still is.

It has four indoor carpet tennis courts and a high-level viewing walkway.  It also has a bar, café, meeting rooms, an acupuncturist treatment room, and four outdoor courts with practice wall. When it was built it was the first of it’s kind in Devon.

STEVE HITCH the architect behind the building’s design, who was Chairman in 2003 and is now the Club President said:

“As the Architect of the Centre, I was recently asked what gave me the greatest satisfaction with the development of the Club over the past few years. I replied that it was being associated with a most progressive Club with ambitions to bring tennis and other activities, to everyone regardless of age, gender and ethnicity. 20 years on, I am delighted that our excellent staff have continued to realise this dream for me.

The Ivybridge Community Association Tennis Club, was founded in 1967 and officially opened in 1972 with four outdoor courts and Clubhouse.  The Committee was approached by a structural engineering company, to erect two indoor courts at favourable terms on adjoining land, and contracts were duly signed. Two years later in 1988 the building was completed. It is fair to say, the structure was not particularly sophisticated, but it proved the desire for playing tennis indoors. However, with possible competition in Plymouth, I decided we must move on to the next stage of development by seeking funds to replace the building with one double the size with four indoor courts and good viewing. Having achieved this, I confess to being immensely proud.”

In the early 1990’s the club continued to build on the strong foundations of the first 25 years of tennis in Ivybridge and in 1998 the club became the first in the country to be accredited as a Community Tennis Partnership, an agreement with the club, South Hams District Council and the Community College. The club still has a strong partnership with the Community College today, providing the school with a comprehensive tennis programme.

The same year the club made the decision to improve it’s facility on a massive scale. As stated, funding the project took several years and was raised from various sources including the Sport England Lottery Fund, the LTA, Devon County Council, South Hams District Council, Ivybridge Town Council, and the Foundation for Sport and Arts.

Work finally began on the new Tennis Centre in May 2002 and it was handed over to the Club by Kier the Contractor, on Christmas Eve 2002, with the official opening five months later. Later in the year, the Duke of Kent visited the Club, and we were voted Runners Up in the 2003 LTA Tennis Club of the Year. You can understand why Steve and many other people associated with the club are immensely proud of it’s achievements.

Since then the centre has been host to many events and supported thousands of children and their families to play tennis on a regular basis. It has held, holiday camps, tennis lessons, social events, wheelchair tennis, Pilates, boot camps, netball events, schools tennis, social tennis and much more. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone who has been involved with the centre in the last 20 years, the club continues to deliver good quality sporting activities for the whole community.

YOU CAN PLAY TOO

To coincide with the celebrations, and to cement the centre’s place in the heart of the community as a facility open to everyone, the South Devon Tennis Centre is launching a new initiative – Try Tennis, no experience or equipment required.

This is open to anyone and everyone, even if you have never held a racket before or stepped foot on a tennis court. You do not have to be a member to come to the South Devon Tennis Centre and you do not have to be good at Tennis.

To Try Tennis you can choose from a range of beginner activities:

As the anniversary approaches, look out for more fun activities taking place in the town. And don’t forge to book your place at our party.