Creative Leeds community tennis project nets LTA award

THE LEEDS Community Tennis Programme has been crowned a national winner at the LTA Tennis Awards for its trailblazing exploits growing the sport in the city.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:45 pm

The team at the programme has scooped the LTA’s Communities and Parks Award after being recognised for its inspirational work adapting to Covid-19 restrictions and booming back to life after lockdown.

The programme responded positively to the demands of the pandemic, thought creatively to welcome new members and fostered a welcoming, inclusive environment as restrictions eased.

They were announced as the winners by sports presenter Anne-Marie Batson at the live-streamed awards ceremony presented by LTA head of men’s tennis and Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain Leon Smith OBE.

And Daniel Burrell, community tennis activator at the programme, said: “A massive thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in the team to enable this to happen – our fantastic coaches, excellent parks department and brilliant leadership team.

“In particular I would like to thank coaches Patrick Di Maio, Andrea Llerena, John Marah, Adam Hillerby, Sara Robson and Donlan Tattersfield, who are an incredible team. As well as Chris Gott, Ross Bibby and the rest of the leadership team.

“Our ultimate goal is to offer participation and coaching opportunities to everyone and we want to keep striving to make this happen.

“I think that this award truly reinforces that we are making this possible.”

The LTA Tennis Awards are now in their sixth year and celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players across the country.

And they were hand picked as one of 16 national winners recognised at the awards ceremony that also honoured individuals involved in tennis at grassroots, county, regional and national level.

Their creative use of social media allowed partners, the community and participants to remain connected and engaged throughout the pandemic. Their swift re-opening of courts when it was safe to do so not only supported the coaching staff with income but it also enabled club players to play at a free venue when they otherwise would not have been able to during the pandemic.

Despite the restrictions of lockdown, Leeds Community Tennis Programme has continued to inspire as it secured almost 50,000 bookings across 10 park sites, embraced technology during lockdown and remained as accessible as possible as the country returned back to normality. Nominations were drawn from over 25,000 volunteers, nearly 5,000 coaches and 1,000 officials, 22,000 schools, nearly 3,000 clubs and over 9,000 LTA approved tournaments, with Leeds Community Tennis Programme recognised for their inspirational work in the Yorkshire region.

The quality and quantity of the nominations demonstrate outstanding work that has been done in tennis through the pandemic.

And David Rawlinson, LTA president, said: “The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive. They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.

“The past year has been challenging for everyone, but to see the tremendous positive contributions the nominees have made to the sport and to their communities has been tremendously uplifting.”

To find out more information about the LTA Tennis Awards or for information on how to play, coach, volunteer or officiate in tennis, head to