Not quite a love game: Area Board's generous grant to Marlborough Tennis Club
At the Marlborough Area Board's last meeting of the financial year (March 22), its grant budget was reduced to zero by four fairly normal size grants and one very large one. Marlborough Tennis Club was awarded a grant of £11,000.
After ten years trying to find a home of its own, the Club will soon start work on land beside the A346 sub-leased from the Golf Club. They have raised £490,000 of the £533,000 the six floodlit courts and a clubhouse.
In November last year, the Club asked the Area Board for £18,000 to help them close their funding gap. They were asked to come back to the March meeting to see what was left in the pot.
They did and their bid was submitted by Councillor Stewart Dobson as a 'Member's Initiative' and so avoided the cap on what the maximum an award can be. But after four other grants were awarded (see below), there was only £11,000 left in the budget.
The £11,000 grant will not close the gap completely, but an anonymous friend of the club has offered an interest free loan so the construction work can begin.
At the meeting some doubts were raised as to whether one organisation should receive just under a quarter of the Area Board's annual grants budget. However, the Club explained how they worked with young children and have planned schemes to make sure that use of the courts open to everyone.
Perhaps it was in the end some embarrassment that Marlborough does not have a tennis club that swung the decision among the three voting Wiltshire councillors who were present at the meeting.
Founded in 1911 and without its own courts since the 1970s, the club rents courts from Marlborough College and fields six adult teams and several junior teams. It has a full coaching programme.
The other four grants awarded were:
• Little Dragons Pre-school, Ogbourne St George - £700.00 to renew the fencing round its outside play area. - keeping children safe.
• Baydon Community Fireworks Committee - £930.00 to buy a new electronic firing board. This it was emphasised could be used by other villages holding celebratory firework displays that were not on 5 November.
• East Wilts Mencap - £977.00 towards the costs of taking members - adults living with learning difficulties - to a Christmas pantomime in Bristol - the costs include hiring a wheelchair-accessible coach.
• The Inside Out Club - £560.00 towards new arts and craft materials for the adults with learning difficulties who attend their weekly meetings in Marlborough. This is the only club of its kind in the town - and it attracts members from Devizes and Trowbridge.