A local sports club is using a loan from Lloyds Bank to invest in a pioneering new sports facility as it looks to help more people get active.
Solihull Arden Club, England’s second-oldest lawn tennis club, is expanding the range of activities it offers and installing three new padel tennis courts, with the support of a six-figure funding package. (according to Wikipedia, England’s oldest lawn tennis club is Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Society).
Padel tennis is one of the fastest-growing sports in Europe and is currently the second-biggest participation sport in Spain, behind only football. It is considered more accessible than tennis itself, with a smaller court and a softer ball, using a composite racquet rather than stringed. It is far easier to pick up than either tennis or squash which opens up the activity to a whole new audience. There are currently around 50 courts in the UK and Solihull Arden Club will become the biggest padel club in the Midlands.
The loan has helped the business to construct the courts, which have a wall at the back and netting down the side, similar in style to a squash court. The club has made the walls out of glass enabling visitors to watch the games taking place, and they also plan to add a canopy to ensure that members can play all year round, regardless of the weather.
The installation has coincided with a rise in membership at Solihull Arden Club, with 20 new members joining and even more new-member enquiries. Non-members will also be allowed to use the court on a pay-to-play basis. As a result of the new facilities, the club is hoping that it will see turnover rise by as much as £180,000 within the next three years, which will support further investment in its facilities.
The club also benefitted from financial support from the team at Lloyds Bank during the height of the pandemic, offering much-needed reassurance during a difficult time and ensuring the plans for the new courts were not affected.
Paul Stanley, Tennis Chairman at Solihull Arden Club, said: “Padel tennis is a sport that’s growing in popularity across Europe and we’re expecting it to really take off in England in the next couple of years. The game is really inclusive and accessible and we’re confident that it will help us to grow our membership and engage people who might not have been as confident on a normal tennis court.
“We’ve been trying to make this happen for a few years now and the funding we received from Lloyds Bank has helped us to get it over the line. We couldn’t be more grateful for their support and expertise throughout this process, and are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the team as we welcome new members on to the court.”
Nigel Arnold, Relationship Manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Solihull Arden Club is a fantastic enterprise that plays an important role in the community in Solihull. The new padel tennis courts will help it to broaden its appeal and give local people the chance to try something unique as they look to get more active. Exercise has both physical and mental health benefits and this investment will undoubtedly have a positive impact in the local community.
“We will continue to support to businesses here in Solihull in the months ahead as part of our ongoing commitment to helping Britain prosper.”