“Having the opportunity to talk to people in their positions about what we do here is great. We’ve built and will continue to build a sustainable community business which impressed them so much they’ve invited us to go to Brussels and talk about our experience.”
Earlier this year Robby won the Mayor’s Safer Parks Award for the work he has been doing in the park at the local sports pavilion. And in the last five years Robby has created a thriving accessible community focal point with a sporting axis in the park and changed a number of young peoples’ lives because of it.
MEP Emma McClarkin, ECR Group Coordinator and Conservative Spokesman on Culture and Education said: “This is an inspirational example of how effective investment and a few dedicated individuals in grassroots sports can really change a community for the better."
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Tennis Foundation with support from Sport England, provided £300,000 to develop the existing Albert Road site, rebuilding and floodlighting six Macadam tennis courts, building four new mini tennis courts, new fencing, retaining wall and a power supply upgrade to enable Robby to build upon the success he has had in improving the area.
The programme has reached out to local young people and offered them employment opportunities in the pavilion café and through tennis coaching, which has changed their outlook on life and given them a stake in their community.
There are now over 800 kids playing tennis and attending other sports camps there, as well as their parents getting involved in all activities on offer.
Further to this Robby has just secured the lease on the Bruce Castle Park tennis courts just down the road which recently received an LTA grant of £147,000 to get the facilties in place for Robby to continue to roll out his programmes and enthusiasm across the borough.