Published: Tuesday, 18 July 2023

Oxford’s Florence Park tennis courts have been awarded National Park Venue of the Year at the prestigious Lawn Tennis Association Awards this year.

The courts are owned by Oxford City Council and run by its tennis partner Courtside, the social enterprise behind Premier Tennis and The Coffee Shed.

Florence Park is a flagship site for the award-winning coaching provider and saw almost 2,000 players on court in 2022. The park site offers 5 floodlit all-weather hard courts that are bookable online, supported by a team of dedicated coaches.

 There were over 10,000 hours of play last year, helped by the good quality of the courts and LED lighting that mean people can play early and late any time of year. With no membership needed and all sessions available on a pay-and-play basis, there’s something for all members of the community.

Some of the highlights that helped show Florence Park is a winner include an outreach programme in 30 Oxford primary schools; free exercise and social skills development for pupils with special needs; supporting a Ukrainian refugee to join the coaching team and gain a national qualification; a Social Tennis programme that has helped Oxford Brookes students integrate with the community; and partnering with the Spin app which helps people find players at their level for informal games.

The national award for Florence Park reflects a commitment to improve facilities for the local community. Florence Park courts were upgraded in 2017 thanks to funding from the City Council and the LTA, and this year the council has secured a £100,000 LTA grant to improve the courts at Botley and Hinksey.

“We’re delighted to receive this recognition for the commitment the council and Courtside have shown to providing an outstanding tennis offer. We’ve invested in great facilities and work with a really committed partner in Courtside, together we’ve put the community at the heart of what we offer.”

Councillor Chewe Munkonge, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Leisure and Parks

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award. Our mission is to bring people together and help them be active, and this lovely park does just that. This award is testament to our long-standing relationship with Oxford City Council that is delivering tangible results. We look forward to extending our community links and are excited by what the next chapter will bring.”

Jeff Hunter, Managing Director of Courtside

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