RUFFORTH Tennis Club is celebrating an increase in membership and the acquisition of a new coach as the institution looks to shore up its long-term sustainability.

Like most village tennis clubs, Rufforth faces economic challenges, hit with increased competition from other activities and a fall in tennis participation over the past 10 years - combined with interrupted play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One positive for the club from the last 12 months is a boost in family membership as people looked for ways to maintain fitness and share time together during the restrictions, especially last summer.

The club are now hoping to grasp the opportunity to build momentum and continue to attract new members to join the club, which welcomes all players from complete beginners to experienced players.

To further the club's long-term sustainability, Sam Forde has been appointed as the coach to take forward the junior section with a full activity programme once courts reopen at the end of March.

Forde, an experienced Level 4 coach, will lead junior coaching on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4pm to 7pm. She will organise other activities, including summer camps during the school holidays. Adult coaching is also part of the offering.

Kate Lewis, the club's new secretary, said: “We want to encourage tennis play in our local community as a great way of keeping fit and having fun.

"The future success of our family club will only thrive by attracting new members at all levels to join us and enjoy our great facilities.

"With our new coach, we look forward to encouraging more players to come and play to increase fitness and mental wellbeing.”

Rufforth is an LTA-affiliated club and touts its "high-quality facilities", which include three hard courts and floodlights. Club nights take place throughout the year on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm until late. All players are welcome.

The club will continue to field teams in various local leagues, including winter competitions, once these resume.

For more information or to join, email Kate Lewis at