Tennis for free

With Wimbledon just around the corner, it's time to think about dusting down those tennis rackets and digging out the fluorescent yellow balls

With Wimbledon just around the corner, it's time to think about dusting down those tennis rackets and digging out the fluorescent yellow balls.

And now there is even more incentive to play as a scheme has been launched offering people the chance to play tennis for free.

Norwich City Council is offering free tennis for casual users at nine of its hard tennis courts across the city as part of a 12-month pilot scheme.

As part of the initiative, tennis enthusiasts can play for no charge at courts at Lakenham Recreation Ground, Harford Park, Bowthorpe Park, Alderman Walker Park, Heartsease and Waterloo Park - saving more than a fiver an hour.

A City Hall spokesman said: 'Following the success of our free swim programme we have expanded our provision of free access to other sports facilities as part of our financial inclusion programme - this now includes free tennis on our hard courts.

'Work is now in place to investigate the development of a Greater Norwich Tennis Partnership which if approved and successful could include free access to and external investment on hard courts in Eaton Park.

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'This could work well as a council-led scheme for free access to the other hard courts in Norwich, with the potential for addressing certain barriers - such as the purchase of equipment and the cost of lessons - things that can sometimes prevent budding tennis enthusiasts from taking part in the sport.'

Norwich City Council extended its free swimming scheme in April this year, helping thousands of low-income families and pensioners. A new free swim lessons programme was also introduced.

Before the new tennis scheme was launched on May 29, it cost adults �5.30 per court, per hour and concessions �2.65. Charges still apply at the hard courts at Eaton Park and at Heigham Park where there are 10 grass courts which cost �5.80 per hour.

As previously reported in the Evening News, a number of tennis courts in Norwich have been closed due to a lack of use.

As a result, just the grass courts at Heigham Park in The Avenues remain and 12 hard court tennis courts across the city.

What do you think of the free tennis scheme? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email

Where and when you can play tennis for free:

Harford Park, Ipswich Road

Bowthorpe Park, Clover Hill Road

Alderman Walker Park, Rider Haggard Road, Heartsease

Waterloo Park, Angel Road

Lakenham Recreation Ground, Cricket Ground Road

There is a time limit of one hour per session on each court

Tennis is available at each of the above locations during the parks' usual opening hours. Hours vary from season to season. For more information, go to