VILLAGE BID: Volunteers are looking to raise funds to refurbish Hamsterley tennis courts
VILLAGE BID: Volunteers are looking to raise funds to refurbish Hamsterley tennis courts

A DALE community is looking to raise thousands of pounds to transform a little-used tennis court into a multi-use sporting facility for all ages.

Residents of Hamsterley agreed at a public meeting last month to launch a major fundraising drive to overhaul the village tennis courts into a more user friendly area where a variety of sports and activities can be played.

The plans, which involve laying a new surface, erecting a perimeter fence and installing permanent equipment, are expected to cost about £70,000. The parish council, which owns the land, is supporting the scheme.

A group has been formed – Hamsterley Community Sports Association – to help

co-ordinate fundraising efforts and will, with the parish council, maintain the area.

The group has been working behind the scenes for months, discussing and planning how to turn the old tennis courts, which were created in the 1980s, into a safe and enjoyable space.

Helen Kirby, one of the trustees of the charitable group, said: “We had taken a really good look at what we could do and how much it would cost before we had the public meeting in July.

“The state of the tennis courts is dangerous and something needs to be done.

“We needed to make sure there weren’t any objections to what we wanted to achieve and at the meeting we got the support of the whole community.

“The site won’t just be about tennis, but five-a-side football, basketball, netball, rounders and hockey. It’s going to cost so much, so every bit helps.”

The group has contacted Durham Sports Association which has agreed to help with grant applications and meetings have been held to discuss fundraising.

Ms Kirby added the group will be speaking to Durham County Council to discuss planning permission.

A social media page has been set up to help raise money from businesses and community events. Matched funding is also being sought.

If the group is unable to raise the cash for the refurbishment, members say the area will return to nature.

Anyone interested in getting involved or finding out more can visit facebook.