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Basford and Draycott Claim Clubmark Status

TENNIS by Jackie Thorley

BASFORD and Draycott are among the front-runners to earn the Lawn Tennis Association's Clubmark Award for excellence. Only four clubs in Staffordshire have claimed the accolade after impressing LTA chiefs with their coaching programmes, policies, development plans and management. The North Staffs outfits are joined by Tipton Sports Academy and Burton Tennis Club in securing the accreditation, which also carries a £500 reward.

"It's taken a lot of hard work by a number of people to apply for the award, but it's great to have it," said Basford coach Mike Armstrong. "It's like a Kitemark which shows anybody wanting to join us that we do things right."

Draycott and Basford offer all-year-round coaching and competitions for juniors and adults, while they have also forged links with local schools. They have put together development plans for the future, with an emphasis on quality, while a major criteria in earning Tennis Clubmark was also to show good child protection, equality and health and safety policies. Keith Carder, the development manager for Staffordshire and Shropshire, said: "These two have shown they are among the top clubs in Staffordshire. "They are well run and it shows the commitment that the coaches and volunteers are putting in. By the end of the year I expect several other clubs to have gained Clubmark standard and one of our priorities is to encourage others to apply."

Meanwhile, Basford have unveiled two courts which have undergone a £25,000 makeover. The club's 15-year-old artificial grass has been replaced by a surface that will benefit youngsters. Armstrong added: "The old courts were getting a bit tired and although we've decided to stay with artificial grass, we've chosen a type which will play a fraction slower – which will help in the development of juniors."

Sentinel, 09 December 2008
Courtesy of The Sentinel News & Media

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