The award comes shortly after Haringey was named one of five tennis hotspots in the country - and the only one in London - by the Tennis Foundation in recognition of efforts by Haringey Council and its partners to promote tennis among all sections of the community.
The announcement will lead to substantial increases in funding and support for Haringey to try to attract more people to the game.Since 2003 the tennis facilities at Albert Road Rec have been leased from the council by the Pavilion Sports and Café, run by tennis coach Robby Sukhdeo.
With the support of Haringey Council and the Friends’ Group, Robby has created a popular community facility that has seen a large increase in visitors to the Green Flag-winning park.
Since setting up the Pavilion he and his team of five coaches have helped develop the tennis skills of hundreds of school pupils from across Haringey, along with adults looking to improve their game.
Children can play on the courts at Albert Road Rec for free and can borrow free racquets and balls, while adults pay just £3 to play for as long as they like, so long as there’s no one waiting for a court.
Following the hotspot announcement, Robby will now be joining fellow coach Siwan Stephens from White Hart Lane Community Sports Centre in developing a detailed programme to improve tennis facilities and encourage even more of the borough’s residents to take up the game.
Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation, Sue Mappin, who selected Albert Road Rec for the award, said:
“If I could, I would look to replicate what Robby’s created at every local authority park in the country.
“It’s a great example of a park that used to suffer from anti-social behaviour being transformed into a fantastic community facility.”
Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Lifelong Learning, Cllr Dhiren Basu, said:
“This award is deserved recognition for all the hard work that Robby Sukhdeo has put into making the Pavilion Sports and Café such a success.
“We have been very pleased to support him in his venture and work with him and the Friends of Albert Road Recreation Ground to create one of the best parks in London.
“The hotspot announcement means we will be able to make similar improvements to tennis facilities and coaching across Haringey over the coming years, and really become one of the best areas for tennis in the country.”
Peter Droussiotis, Chair of the Friends of Albert Road Recreation Ground said:
“This is a huge achievement for Pavilion Tennis which has benefited from Robby Sukhdeo’s leadership and drive; it is also a reflection of the way the local community has enthusiastically embraced this local park, inspired by the voluntary and methodical work which the Friends of Albert Road Recreation Ground has been doing since 2002 in productive partnership with Haringey Council, the Pavilion and local schools. We are all rightly proud of what has been accomplished here and remain determined to do even better in the future.”
Robby will now pick up the award at the Wimbledon Ball and spend a day on centre court as a guest of the Lawn Tennis Association.
Albert Road Recreation Ground is one of eight Haringey parks with a Green Flag award for the Civic Trust - the joint highest number in London. It first received the award in 2006.
The Pavilion Sports and Café can be contacted on 020 8365 8889 or via www.psandc.co.uk