A tennis venue in Oxford has received national recognition at prestigious national awards.  

The Florence Park tennis courts facility has been awarded National Park Venue of the Year this month by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

The LTA is the national governing body for tennis and padel.

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The courts are owned by Oxford City Council and are 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 last year.

Councillor Chewe Munkonge, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and parks on Oxford City Council said: “We’re delighted to receive this recognition for the commitment the council and Courtside have shown to providing an outstanding tennis offer.

Oxford Mail:

“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.”

Jeff Hunter, managing director of courtside, added: “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.”

The park site offers five floodlit all-weather hard courts that are bookable online at tennisoxfordshire.com, supported by a team of dedicated coaches.

There were more than 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".

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Some of the highlights that helped Florence Park claim the award include an outreach programme in 30 Oxford primary schools, free exercise and social skills development for pupils with special needs and supporting a Ukrainian refugee to join the coaching team and gain a national qualification.

There was also a social tennis programme that 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.

Florence Park courts were upgraded in 2017 after 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.