Armidale Tennis Club secretary Cheryl Cooper welcomed a federal government grant worth $50,000 on Monday, which will see toilets and men’s shower facilities undergo modifications to include a unisex-disabled toilet and shower.
She thought the funding as an absolute God-send and said the club was thrilled to bits.
“We desperately need many, many upgrades, one of which is the availability of water for the men’s showers,” she said.
“We had put in for a couple of grants asking whether or not we could get assistance to upgrade the showers, so that we could offer showers to the local and regional male players. This funding will go a long way to upgrading those facilities.”
Cheryl said the “250 something or other” strong club would like to attract more regional events, but could only do so with better facilities.
“We need to prioritise because with having those shower facilities we would never attract, say, a Veteran’s Tournament, or be able to utilise it,” she said.
“At the moment we’re having Junior Development Series Tournaments. We held one on the weekend that attracted 110 players from all over the north-west region.
“It’s quite embarrassing to think that probably half of those people attending, being males, we can’t offer any shower facilities. So, it’s wonderful news to think that at least now we will be able to accommodate those visiting players.”
Cheryl said the improved facilities would help the club attract functions.
“Because currently we’re not able to attract disabled people because we don’t have a ramp into the clubhouse,” she said.
In announcing the funding, Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the benefits of the new investment would be felt right across the region.
“Community tennis courts allow us to encourage the next Pat Cash, the next Pat Rafter, the next Lleyton Hewitt, here in our towns,” he said.
“We hope these facilities become the seedbed for the next tennis champions, and also for the community to enjoy a social game of tennis.”