An historic Birmingham tennis club, among the oldest in the world, has joined a scheme to help it survive.
Yardley Tennis Club has been a thriving hub of the game since opening in1884 but has now fallen on hard times.
Weeds have grown through its four courts, vandals have damaged the Victorian pavilion and its membership has dwindled to ten players.
But Birmingham tennis coach James Keatley hopes youth can serve up a new lease of life for the club.
He has been promised money for repairs from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) if he can get a quarter of primary school children in the area involved in the game.
The 29-year-old said he believed hard work could get the club back on its feet.
“This is among the four or five oldest clubs in the world and it would be a real shame if it were to be lost,” said the former Warwickshire county player.
“The membership is down to ten people who try and play for an hour a week but the courts aren’t really even up to that.
“Their membership just about covers the rent from the council but there is nothing for repairs.
“Realistically, we need £80,000 to make it work and turn this back in to a great place for sport.”
Small Heath-born Mr Keatley has taken tennis classes in to primary schools across Yardley thanks to grants from Warwickshire LTA, Sports Unlimited and Birmingham Schools Partnership and hopes to give 5,000 kids an introduction to the game.
The Register of Professional Tennis-trained coach is also trying to secure help to make the Queens Road courts playable this summer and will hold sessions at Sheldon Heath School.
“The response has been amazing and I think tennis can thrive in the area,” he said.
“People like Jayne Ashton at Warwickshire LTA and Amy Bird at Sports Unlimited have been fantastic but there is still a long way to go.”
?? Anybody interested in coaching for under-10s or supporting the club can contact Mr Keatley at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07970 533 649.