New state-of-the art outdoor squash courts are to be built at five venues around Birmingham, England, after England Squash announced that it was to receive £75,000 ($95,000 USD) in National Lottery funding from Sport England.
The new innovative outdoor courts, which are part of a collaboration between England Squash and industry experts Play Innovation, are designed to increase participation and engagement levels, and build on the legacy of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games to create a permanent squash infrastructure within the local community.
These pioneering new facilities will be available at accessible venues including schools, youth centres and public parks, significantly reducing the number of participation barriers that so many diverse communities continue to face.
This latest development adds a significant dimension to England Squash’s activation work in the region, following the unveiling of a revolutionary court at Birmingham’s King Solomon International Business School in 2022, as part of the Commonwealth Games’ legacy in collaboration with Squash United.
Jo Rowbottom, Head of Partnerships and Communities at England Squash said: “Since the games, our team has worked tirelessly to increase diversity and tackle inequality in the Birmingham region through creating sustainable playing opportunities. This funding award will help build on the good progress we’ve made and provide squash facilities to those communities that need it the most.
“We would like to thank Sport England for their ongoing support, and we look forward to working with them and our partners to further diversify the sport.”
By working collaboratively with communities, England Squash has driven the awareness and appetite for squash. This has involved welcoming community members to national squash events, taking portable squash courts and rebound walls into local facilities, youth clubs and schools, and increasing their presence at other sporting and local events.
Commenting on England Squash’s outreach work in the region, as well as its decision to award this new level of funding, Sport England’s Executive Director of Place, Lisa Dodd-Mayne, said: “These courts will be an important local community resource and will help to build on the legacy of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“We are looking forward to seeing people use and benefit from them. They will provide accessible and inclusive facilities that will embed squash in the community.
“Having seen first-hand the work that England Squash is doing, in partnership with some key local organisations, such as the Saheli Hub, these new courts are deliberately in areas across Birmingham where there is the strongest potential to help tackle inequalities and engage with the least active people, which is central to our Uniting the Movement strategy.”
The project will take place in two phases, with sites for the courts to be identified in the coming months as part of phase one.
Keep up to date with the project at englandsquash.com
Watch free squash action, interviews and features at WORLDSQUASH.TV