Talking with Tim Reeves, Communications Officer of Rochford Tennis Club (14th January 2012)
At 9.30 on a bright but cold Saturday morning (it had only just risen above the minus three degrees it had been the night before, and the frost was still on nearby roof tops, surrounding fields and golf course), turning left immediately under the railway bridge going out of Rochford on Hall Road, we made our way along to the car park of the Rochford Tennis Club where an enthusiastic group of youngsters were out on the courts receiving coaching from Head Coach, Chris Nelson. There I met with the Club’s Communication Officer, Tim Reeves, in the warmth of a fairly recently renovated Club house, while Tim’s wife, Catherine (also Club Treasurer and Events Organiser) served hot and cold drinks and snacks from behind the bar. Outside parents, well wrapped up, watched while their children received coaching. I asked Tim about the size and activities of the Club.
Rochford Life: Tim, can we get a size of the Club? How many members do you have?
Tim : Roughly a hundred members in all, but there are probably fifty or so Juniors. The biggest Junior group is this group outside; there are normally about twenty of them who are here every Saturday. On Sundays there are usually league matches but any member can come down and use the courts when they aren’t in use. Tuesday we play in the evenings from 4.00pm with some more Junior activity, and then at seven it is the adults social tennis. Sometimes we may get rained off but I would say at least 45 weeks of the year we are here playing tennis. I only came back to tennis about July 2010 not having played tennis since my teenage years, and I’m finding it very good.
RL: What time do you start on Saturdays?
Tim : Every Saturday morning we’re here about a quarter to nine, then there are three groups of Juniors, each running for an hour taking us through to twelve, then at twelve there is an adult beginners class, then from one it’s social tennis through the afternoon. During the week time although it’s locked up, it’s a combination lock and so members can let themselves in to use the courts whenever they want.
RL: This is a nice Club house.
Tim : Yes, we had it refitted about a year ago with help from lottery money,and we’ve recently had a couple of sponsors come on board, firms who provide money to have their posters up here.
RL: You have social events in here as well, I believe?
Tim : Yes, about once a month we hold a social event. Sometimes we may have a quiz night or we have a race night, that sort of thing. They’re all fund-raisers really so we charge tickets for them. We’ve found the best attendance we get is from the parents of our Juniors because they know it’s a family friendly venue and so, for instance, when we have a Quiz Night, while the parents are doing the quiz, the children will be out on the courts until late and it’s all enclosed of course, a secure environment. We had a Wii tennis night where someone brought a Wii down here not long back, and so there have been all sorts of activities.
RL: I saw on your programme you’re going to have an Open Day?
Tim : Yes that’s right. We’re going to try and do what we do every Saturday but we’re going to try and advertise it in the area so that we get potential new members and we’ll try and accommodate whoever comes down and at whatever time, and show them what we do on the courts with some coaching sessions and some tennis games. Our Juniors love all the tennis games we put on. In the Club house here we’ll probably have the Wii going and some table tennis, and of course we also have the licensed bar here. Some of our members are social member who just like to come down to socialise and watch the tennis, so members can be very varied in their use of the Club.
RL: Do you do any work with Schools?
Tim : We’ve linked up with three local schools to do coaching sessions during term time starting in late February. We will also supporting a new government initiative to get 14 to 25 year olds actively participating in sport. These initiatives are partly supported by some funding from the LTA and government grants, so those taking part will get a free introduction to the sport and the club. Hopefully anyone taking part in those sessions will be tempted to join our club. We always welcome new members and you don’t have to be an accomplished player to join.
RL: Well Tim, thank you for that; that’s very helpful and I’m sure it will provide a useful introductory insight into the Club for anyone thinking of taking up tennis. Thank you again.