Pupils from a local primary school were invited to be the first players on the asphalt as the East End welcomes brand new tennis courts to the community.
Pupils from Garrowhill Primary School took part in a tennis session led by Neil Haig, tennis participation officer at Glasgow Life, to celebrate the opening of three state-of-the-art tennis courts yesterday.
The all-weather, macadam surfaced courts are an exciting new addition to Garrowhill Park in Baillieston following a £300,000 investment from Glasgow City Council, sportscotland, the Lawn Tennis Association and Tennis Scotland.
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The courts are operated by the charity Glasgow Life and are free to use for all members of the public and the community.
The tennis courts are served by a new sustainability-led “Smart Gate” system which records the number of users, and the system is linked to floodlights which only turn on when the court is booked to minimize energy usage.
Kevin Lalley, Labor councilor for Baillieston, told the Glasgow Times that the new courts went beyond the expectations of the local community and hopes the thriving tennis atmosphere that existed years ago in Garrowhill Park will return with the new facilities.
Councilor Lalley said: “I was speaking to some local residents and they’re so happy, so pleased.
“This is a vast, vast improvement for Garrowhill and it’s a much-needed facility.”
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Bailie Annette Christie, chair of Glasgow Life, said: “The reaction this morning from Garrowhill Primary pupils has been fantastic.
“They were playing away, learning all the skills of tennis.
“This facility, offering three courts in the East End of the city, is very, very important for the East End and indeed across Glasgow.
“Glasgow Life is the charity that promotes sport and well-being and culture in the city, so this facility will offer not only physical but mental well-being for anyone who can come along and book.”
She added: “I would like to say to members of the public, get booking and come along and enjoy the facility.”
Andy Kelly, project manager at sportscotland, said: “We’ve got a plan to look at equality, diversity, and inclusion and trying to invest in those communities that really need the help, where the kids don’t have the opportunity to play sports.
“So, a project like this, working with Glasgow Life, is fantastic.
“We’ve seen today that the kids are out really working away, and the hope is that after today they will be coming back.
“It’s an open facility. They can come in and use it any time, so it’s that encouragement of getting the local people to come in here, participate in sport.
“And we can also say there were locals standing around and watching [the opening event].
“The next thing is encouraging them to come in and use this facility.
“I think it’s a great thing for the East End of Glasgow, there’s a nice little complex of sports facilities here and this just adds to that.”
The benefits of participating in sport are well-known and the hope is that free facilities that can be enjoyed rain or shine, any time of day, will encourage the community as a whole to get active in an accessible way.