Tennis clubs from up and down Wales are the very heart and soul of our sport which has been so evident during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Raising morale and keeping us active, clubs are performing a huge service to communities like never before.
This week, we are placing Caerphilly Tennis Club and its Head Coach Jonathan Morgan centre court as part of the National Lottery Dedicated To… campaign which celebrates the work of our grassroots sporting heroes during these very difficult months.
The club has been supported by the National Lottery and while life has not been normal since March, that has not stopped this close-knit community in Caerphilly from training and having fun.
Jonathan’s commitment has seen him make 109 activity videos and send them to members and the wider community six days a week during lockdown. He has also helped keep children busy during lockdown with tennis-related art and craft activities:
“It is important we keep our members and their families active,” says the coach who joined the club at the age of six, became a volunteer at the age of 16 and is now taking it from strength to strength.
The club is dedicated to being central to the community and works with eight local schools every summer. Determined to use the time at home productively, Jonathan has also started to learn Welsh online to help him in his work with local Welsh language schools.
But he says the success of the club would not be possible without the support of the National Lottery. Three years ago, the club was boosted by National Lottery funding. It was awarded a Development Grant from Sport Wales to renovate its clubhouse and install a flooring so we that tennis could be played indoors during bad weather:
“Since then, membership has absolutely skyrocketed. Local community groups also use the clubhouse for meetings and events.”
More recently, the club was handed a further £1700 of National Lottery funding from the Sport Wales Be Active Wales Fund which is enabling sports clubs across Wales to restart activities safely:
“We bought a fogging machine which means we can sanitise the clubhouse. We have also purchased more tennis balls and hand sanitisers. Due to the local restrictions in Caerphilly and then the firebreak across Wales, we haven’t reopened the clubhouse yet but we will be ready once we get the go-ahead.”
Jonathan is eager to thank the club’s army of volunteers too:
“Our volunteers have been brilliant – they tidied up the paths, swept the courts, done much-needed gardening jobs and installed hand sanitisers – so we could open the courts in July. We have done everything we can to make the club as safe as possible.”
It is easy to see why the awards have flooded in for the Caerphilly club. It won the coveted Tennis Wales Club of the Year two years in a row in 2018 and 2019 and was recognised by the LTA in 2019 and 2020 when it became a runner-up and finalist in its National Club of the Year award.
With the help of National Lottery funding, thousands of grassroots sports workers and volunteers from local clubs and organisations across the UK, have been be able to continue to help the nation to remain active, happy and motivated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, many of which are supporting the most vulnerable in our communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.