The Tennis Scotland Club of the Year Award for 2016 has been won by progressive West of Scotland club Rutherglen Lawn Tennis Club.
Rutherglen LTC has been working hard to develop all aspects of their club, including making it accessible to all, engaging with the Tennis Scotland/LTA initiatives, developing relationships with clubs across the country, developing courts in their area as well as increasing their own membership and coaching opportunities.
Consequently, membership at Rutherglen LTC has soared to 290, its highest level in a near 100 year history, almost trebling in the last four years. The club organise two open weekends per year for everyone who wants to play the game, but also deliver Great British Tennis Weekends (GBTW) in May and July. Coaches also deliver free tennis to local schools and disability unit around their community.
They have been working closely with Tennis Scotland Wheelchair Tennis Coordinator and GB Paralympian, Kevin Simpson, to launch a new Wheelchair Tennis Class and that proved to be very successful.
The club are huge supporters of the GB Davis Cup team and volunteered along with other local clubs to man the mini tennis court in the rain at the Davis Cup trophy tour event in Glasgow.
Gareth Ellor, Club President said on receiving this award, "This award is fantastic recognition for all the hard work put in by a team of passionate volunteers who have achieved truly amazing things! It gives us all a massive shot in the arm as we work to save and expand into three derelict courts just round the corner. As a 7-Court Club we look forward to giving even more people the chance to allow tennis to enrich their lives".
The club of the Year award is by far our most popular award and with so many deserving candidates, the committee had a tough time trying to pick a winner. Among the clubs shortlisted by Tennis Scotland were:-
*Over the past 18 months Jackie Clark and the rest of the committee at Kirkhill Lawn Tennis Club, has turned the club around and quadrupled the membership. The coaching programme has been developed from 2 to 15 classes for all ages. They have also recently added Miss-Hits and Cardio Tennis at the club which are proving very popular. The club also partakes in various LTA initiatives and engage all their members to join in.
There is increased team participation from 2 to 18 teams in league tennis. The whole community is now involved with the club with many family memberships and a fabulous range of kid's tennis activities which are really well attended. Life has been brought back to the club and it is a crucial part of the community spirit.
*Giffnock Tennis Squash & Hockey Club has had an extraordinary year and plays a leading role in its local community. They are a key partner of their Local Authority, East Renfrewshire, including working with East Renfrewshire Active Schools with over 1000 children able to try tennis each year, for free. Giffnock also recently hosted an East Renfrewshire Schools All Sports Festival with every Primary 5 school child from every East Renfrewshire Primary School attending. Of particular importance in the past year has been Giffnock's work to sustain Barrhead Community Tennis Club, which was about to fail.
Hundreds of local people have tried tennis for the first time in the past 3 months, including Tennis For Free and Tennis Tuesday coaching. Giffnock has invested extensively in coaching resource, and individual coaches, over the past year with two coaches achieving their Level 4, two coaches achieving their Level 3, one coach achieving level 2 and 3 coaches achieving level 1 status. Giffnock now employs three full time tennis coaches and has a support team of fully qualified coaches that sustains its large and growing coaching programme. Giffnock also believes in competition and hosts a Level 3 Giffnock Junior Open alongside the Giffnock Senior Open, which this year boasted a new sponsor and the largest prize money on record.
*Aboyne Tennis Club is a 4-court club in a small rural town and at the heart of community activity in the area. The club have strong track record of outreaching to other towns and smaller clubs in the Deeside area. Club membership is up from 180 - 235 in 2016. The club have developed a varied tennis programme for ages and abilities and delivered a successful Tennis for Kids programme in 2016. 172 members are currently taking part in tennis programmes all year round. This year, the club hosted a variety of successful charity events, including quiz nights and the local community duck race! The club have an exemplary committee structure, and have recognised the need to establish committee sub-groups to drive forward specific aspects of club development, e.g. facility development. The club have an excellent online presence and very active Facebook account. The have appointed a Development sub-group committee in order to develop a long-term plan. Key volunteers are now driving development plans forward, with current focus on the development of their old concrete courts.