Chris Brown, Treasurer of ILTSC, talks about the club’s significant role in the local community and the importance of its recent expansion.
“The ILTSC was established in 1880 and was made up of just a few grass tennis courts. Since then, it has grown exponentially and we now offer 12 grass courts, six hard or all-weather courts, and five indoor courts for tennis, as well as five indoor squash courts.
“It’s very expensive to run this kind of facility but it’s important to us to find ways to cover costs without making membership fees too high. Above all, this is a facility for local people and we want to make sure it remains affordable. In 2013 we began a development project, updating several facilities and expanding the gym and fitness studio areas. These improvements not only benefit the club’s standing as a centre for excellence but also attract a wider membership, and so increase revenue. Since the work was completed just under a year ago, our membership numbers have grown by more than 25% to over 2,200 members.
“We received funding from Sports England and the Lawn Tennis Association but still had a considerable gap we needed to fill. It’s difficult to get a conventional loan from high-street banks for this kind of project as they don’t generally invest in sports organisations. We started to look for alternative providers and came across Charity Bank.
“It has been great working with Charity Bank. In fact, securing our loan from Charity Bank was perhaps one of the easiest parts of this entire project. Dealing directly with someone local was also a huge plus as it really facilitated communication and made the whole process more personal.
“The loan from Charity Bank made this project possible and has benefitted the club and local area enormously. We are going from strength to strength, now annually hosting the prestigious Aegon Ilkley Trophy event, which consists of both the men’s Challenger and the ladies’ ITF tournaments simultaneously. This year, it will be the biggest such combined tennis event in the world. This not only benefits the club but the surrounding area, attracting many visitors. We’ve also been able to expand our outreach programmes, working more and more with local schools and smaller clubs.”
“It has been great working with Charity Bank. In fact, securing our loan from Charity Bank was perhaps one of the easiest parts of this entire project.”Chris Brown, Treasurer of ILTSC