An Ecclesfield tennis club has beaten the odds to survive after “phenomenal” support from the public led to a burst of funding.

The £10,000 from Ecclesfield Parish Council was critical to meet the crowdfund target goal of £25,000 needed to ensure Thorncliffe Tennis Club would retain its £7,500 Sports England pledge. 

The funding comes after the only club in Sheffield’s north was on the brink of collapse, unable to raise enough money in enough time to urgently resurface its courts. 

Without this funding, the three outdoor courts would have been be unable to pass safety standards, and the club might have been forced to close. 

Karen Lyon, fundraising manager for Thorncliffe Tennis Club, said: “When we started out with this I can tell you people really didn’t think it would succeed. It took us nine weeks but we did it.

“The public has been phenomenal. The support from local tennis clubs, the offers from companies helping us to resurface the courts, and of course the parish council have been incredible.”

The non-profit organisation, based in one of the poorest areas in Sheffield, raised £8,000 from crowdfunding thanks to the support of the Thorncliffe community.

Cheryl Lunn, 60, the club’s secretary, said: “We were totally elated to discover we had been awarded the funds. It has made us realise that our local councillors recognise the value of our facilities to the local community and the negative impact it would have on people of all ages, genders and backgrounds if it was unable to survive as a result of the financial difficulties it faced.”

The funding has meant that league matches are able to resume for the players at the High Green venue, with players ranging from four to 92 years-old. 

Eric Smedley, 92, at Thorncliffe Tennis Club, Credit: Thorncliffe Tennis Club Facebook page. 

The secretary said: “We have been totally overwhelmed by the support we have received via the crowdfunding platform, having received support both local and nationwide.

“We certainly did not expect this type of response for which we are eternally grateful and are astounded by ‘the power of the media’.”

Initially the bill for resurfacing was estimated at £54,000, but offers from local businesses to surface paint the courts and to produce a suitable tennis surface for free have knocked £20,000 off the bill.  

An additional sum of over £1,000 was raised by local tennis clubs and members including Barnsley Pickleball Club, Rustlings Lawn, Hallam Grange Lawn, Grove, and Brentwood Tennis Club. 

Since the crowdfunding campaign began the club has gained five new members, which has contributed to the affordability of these major repairs. 

The reserves from the money saved by the non-profit organisation will go towards upgrading the club’s floodlights. The club have since extended their crowdfunding target to £35,000 to raise even more money to change the existing floodlights, which are currently unusable. 

To donate to Thorncliffe Tennis Club see their crowdfunding page.