Club receives funding for proposed court development

Downshire Tennis Club have received funding towards their proposed development of two new astroturf courts.

Left to Right: George Lucas (Chairman Downshire Tennis Club), Paul Givan MLA, Warren Bell (Alpha Steering Group), Stephen Toal (Alpha Steering Group), Jeffrey Donaldson MLA with member of the Alpha Programme Committee.

The club, based at Old Coach Road, Hillsborough, has received a letter of offer for project funding under the Alpha Programme from Groundwork NI of £50k.

This award is for projects up to £250k and is intended to support Phase 1 of their proposed development of two new astroturf courts, which would increase the playing capacity of the club by 66%.

Phase 2 of the proposed development, which could be carried out next year, would involve covering these courts with a bubble/dome with integrated floodlights.

In line with Alpha criteria, after tenders have been received and considered by the Committee, a formal proposal will be presented to the Club members at the Club’s AGM at 8pm on March 30.

The Alpha Programme from Groundwork NI supports projects which enhance the environment and the community.

Mervyn Waddell from Groundwork NI said: “We are pleased to support Downshire Tennis Club because of the service they provide for the community.”

Downshire Tennis Club has been on a journey of continuous improvement since being founded in the village in 1939.

The Club has outgrown its facilities in the past 20 years changing from a small Club of 100 members in 1994 to an average of 500 members in the past 10 years.

This makes Downshire the largest Tennis Club in terms of tennis members in Ulster but the Club has only three courts.

This project would enable a 66% increase in playing time with two new astro turf courts at Old Coach Road, Hillsborough, and would also enable the Club’s comprehensive programme of coaching, competitive and social play to be extended to the wider community.

The Club welcomes people of all ages, abilities and social backgrounds to play tennis, a healthy sport for life, where friendships flourish and people are integrated into the community.

George Lucas, Club Chairman said: “The Club could not have made this progress without the members and the 50 volunteers who work tirelessly to develop the Club.”

George also acknowledged the support of Kevin Madden, Lisburn City Council Sports Advisory Officer, who helped support the application with advice and expertise.

Ken Bell, Chair of the Development Committee, acknowledged the support of Lisburn City Council and local politicians from all parties who have supported the club.

Ken said thanks to Mervyn Waddell of Groundwork NI for the support in awarding the £50k project funding.

Local MLA, Paul Givan, said he was pleased that Downshire Tennis Club were being awarded project funding and that the Club has strong leadership, excellent programmes and give a great service to the community.

Jeffrey Donaldson MP endorsed Mr Givan’s comments and said this project was a good example of partnerships working, Downshire Tennis Club, Groundwork NI and Lisburn City Council improving facilities and bring real benefit to the community, now and for future generations.