On our Wimblecomm Spotlight, we invite local people, charities or community spaces who make positive contributions to Merton to share their story on our Community Hub and spread the word on their good works.
This July, we spoke to Cranleigh Tennis and Social Club to find out their story and discuss how they have managed to get back to doing what they do best after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Who are you and what venue are you representing?
Christine Roe, Co-Chair of Cranleigh Tennis & Social Club SW19
What does a typical day at your venue look like?
The club is buzzing now that we are finally able to properly open again after the Covid-19 crisis. Many people are returning to tennis as they can’t play many other sports. They love the club and what it offers at an affordable rate.
Lots of people – of all ages and standards playing tennis on our 5 new artificial clay courts. A Montessori nursery for 2- 4-year olds every morning in the clubhouse. Our Bar which is open again from 7.30 – 11pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and 12 – 7pm on Sundays.
What types of activities and events take place at your venue?
Tennis for Juniors and Adults ranging from Beginners to Advanced Team and Individual Tennis – both Singles and Doubles.
We also hire out our big activity room for parties, anniversaries, christenings etc. (Click here to view the space.)
Do you cater to any particular groups of people in society such as young people, families or the older generation?
We offer special rates for young adults who are under 30 years old.
All ages are welcome – with an emphasis on families. Often the children join first, then the parents join in, rather than just watch.
We also run a weekly session for young people with significant learning disabilities.
We have a genuine welcoming atmosphere – we are run by volunteers who are members themselves. We pride ourselves as being part of the local community and a real hub in Merton Park.
It is also a lovely venue for family parties with its cosy, well stocked bar, big activity room, pretty garden and patio – all surrounded by the open green space of Mostyn Gardens.
Is there something that has happened at your venue in the past year that you would regard as a highlight or success story?
We were awarded Surrey Tennis (LTA) Surrey Club of the Year. We also celebrated our 90th Anniversary – the club was established in 1929. We had lots of special events during the year to celebrate – including our ‘Though the Decades’ Tournament with wooden racquets and vintage outfits, big BBQs and visits from the Mayor.
We provide tennis and social activities at very reasonable rates. As mentioned above, we also provide specialist free tennis for young people with significant learning disabilities.
We are a community hub where people can meet and make new friends and feel they ’belong.’
How can the people of Merton get involved and help to support your venue?
We always welcome new Tennis and Social members – you can come along and visit for free. Or go to the website and send us an email.
What is the best way for people to stay updated on news, events and activities happening at your venue?
Now we will ask a few questions considering the impact of Covid-19…
The Covid-19 Pandemic has affected people globally, and here in Merton we have seen it affect our community venues in several different ways. How has it affected your venue?
We were completely closed from March 23rd until a very limited opening for tennis came on 13th May. We started with playing Singles only – at 2 metres distance – then allowing Doubles for the same household, and now Doubles with other households (2 metres distance still applies.)
Our bar opened on Sunday July 5th for the first time since lockdown – what a great atmosphere it was! We welcomed a mixture of families, juniors, established players and social members.
We have had a big increase in new members – some of whom haven’t been able to return to their normal clubs because of restrictions on indoor courts. Some people who haven’t played for years have returned to Tennis and are loving it again. They really like our friendly welcoming atmosphere and great courts.
Moving forwards, do you think Covid-19 will change the way that you operate?
We would like to offer more regular bookings in our Activity Room in the afternoons, evenings and weekends for groups such as Dancing, Pilates, Yoga, Keep Fit, Book groups and more.
We also want to organise more social events such as quizzes, BBQs, Wine nights etc.
Our booking system for courts has worked well, so people know in advance when they can play. We want a mixture of drop in socials – where you can just turn up and play, as well as pre-organised singles and doubles matches and coaching sessions for all standards and ages. Team tennis will start again in September with 5 Men’s teams, 4 Ladies, 1 Mixed, and 4 Juniors teams.
There is always something to learn from difficult times and experiences, what will the club be taking away from this Covid-19 Pandemic?
The importance of having a strong committee, (which we have) who can act quickly to changing situations and communicate openly and clearly to members – as well as listening to the views of members. The need for flexible working– such as online meetings on Zoom – and adapting to changes such as the increase of home working and children not physically being at school. We have seen a great increase in daytime tennis. Our courts have never been busier!
Is there anything else that you would like to share as part of your venue’s Wimblecomm Spotlight?
Thank you for the opportunity to celebrate our club and share our story.
We hope you have enjoyed this latest edition of our #WimblecommSpotlight series featuring Cranleigh Tennis & Social Club who are one of our listed venues and a great community sports club who continue to keep Merton active and social during these difficult times. Continue reading our blog for more of these features with individuals, charities, and other community organisations working for the greater good of Merton and beyond.