We are now almost within sight of our goal to convert the remaining grass courts into all-weather courts and construct permanent floodlighting on five courts.
Since we love tennis, it is fair to say we are heading into the final set with the momentum decidedly on our side of the net. AECC is close to becoming a destination club in the North West boasting wonderful playing and coaching facilities, for young and old, where tennis is played on multiple surfaces long into the night in every season.
So much has happened in the past few months that we thought it was time to bring you up to speed on major developments, not least in terms of fundraising, as we launch our final push. It is all good news, and these are exciting times.
We are still on track to begin construction of the new courts next Spring in time for the 2018 season but to guarantee completion on schedule we need your enthusiasm and imagination.
The headline figures tell their own story – we are on the way to securing more than 80 per cent of the overall funding for the total project budget of £388.000. This includes banking £62,000 from our own fundraising.
Earlier this month East Cheshire Council granted planning permission for the project with only a minor caveat that the floodlighting on the two courts closest to Orchard Green should be switched off by 9 pm (they will be 9.30 pm on the other three courts). This represents an enormous achievement for the club.
This week we have received the welcome news that the LTA has offered a £30,000 grant towards the project and further loan facilities of £110,000.
We are also looking forward to launching a conversation about our preferred court surface. There has been considerable work behind the scenes on this topic and, it is fair to say, much of the talk has been about artificial clay. It will offer members a fascinating alternative to our dominant all weather carpet courts. We would welcome views from our members.
If you half close your eyes you can almost look out from the clubhouse towards the ‘development courts’ alongside Mottram Road where a bolstered coaching staff are taking the youngsters through their paces. Meanwhile members are having fun on the three newly-laid ‘championship courts’ and, closer still, Alderley Edge men’s sixth team are thrashing Brabyns 4. The sun will always
be shining – this is the future.
This is our opportunity to say a big thank you to you, the ordinary members, for getting us to this point. Many generous people have contributed in kind or with donations over the past few months and we want to take a moment to express our appreciation. However, it will be the briefest of celebratory pauses before we launch the next intensive, fundraising phase.
We will continue our drive to seek sponsorship, pursue further donations from interested parties and opportunities in naming courts. Shortly you will see signs of this work with netting advertising the San Carlo restaurant chain and dedicated benches will soon be appearing court side.
We need you, our playing members, to get us to the winning point in the breaker.
We need members to be resourceful and come up with fun things to do to raise cash. Melissa’s ‘cakes for courts’ initiative to sell cakes - including Tony Francis’ chocolate cake - at the annual fete will, we hope, become a classic of its genre. There are plans for a ‘Tiebreak Challenge Day’ which will capture the imagination of the tennis section, both young and old. The key thing is to take part.
We are aiming to stage a meeting with members sooner rather than later. We will be displaying one of the benches in the club house during the tournament. A dedicated bench remains a wonderful way to remember those who play or have played at the club.
At the outset of this project we spoke about our shared love for the club and its unique setting which occupies a special place in all our hearts. It is our club under the Edge. Let’s make it the best we can.