Cessnock Tennis Club is getting a new lease on life with plans to see it transformed into a community hub.
Club Evolve, the brainchild of Gary Brenton and Sonia Close from the Hunter Tennis Academy, has partnered with the tennis club to offer a range of programs to cater for a wide variety of interests.
“We came in here as Hunter Tennis Academy and we had this model that was similar to what we do at Singleton and Newcastle but we realised that it wouldn’t work here because its such a vast centre,” Ms Close said.
“We’ve gone with Club Evolve which is going to have a club based program. You can join the tennis club, there’ll be a yoga club, a multi-spot kids club, a social club and more.”
Ms Close added that she believed the club’s membership-based system would not be too much of a drain on the hip pocket.
“We’ve come in at a really low price point – for example you can join the yoga club for $25 you can get three classes a week for $22 and in that membership, once a month there will be a guest speaker or a wine tasting,” she said.
“It’s about making the club more of a hub for the community.”
Mr Brenton, who is Club Evolve’s program director said that he hoped that a new tennis program would help bolster numbers in the area, as well as drawing players from Newcastle and the Central Coast.
“It’s about offering different levels of service,” he said. “You’ve got the absolute elite who want to be professionals, right down to the little kids in our hot-shots program.”
There are also plans to create a reception area at the front of the centre, while the heritage-listed hall will be transformed into a yoga studio and events space, that Ms Close said would also host health and wellness programs.
“We want to align with other like minded sporting bodies and schools,” she said.
“We also want to give back to the community as well and there are plans to hold cooking classes for the youth and a community garden.”
Ms Close said that Club Evolve was also keen to preserve the history of Cessnock Tennis Club.
“We have partnered with Cessnock Tennis Club to help them grow and diversify sustainably,” she said.
“It’s not about us coming in and taking over – it’s about us seeing how we can help the tennis club and other sporting bodies. We want to work together.
“We want to preserve the history of the club – it has such an esteemed history and produced a lot of high standard players.”