Sport for free? Summer 2015
By Mark Tanner
There is very little you get for free nowadays and up and down the country the costs of playing sports keeps rising. However there are still some sports that you can play for free in Bath/Bristol this summer.
Televised sports coverage keeps getting better and better with the Women’s World Cup in Canada doing very well (at the time of writing). Eastbourne has been and gone with Wimbledon now on our sets, tablets and phones. There is even the Heritage Oil Open just around the corner for table tennis fans being televised for the second year running on BT Sports.
Participation in sports however is not being reflected to the number of people watching them on TV. Grassroots is the Government’s buzz word at the moment with each sports being analysed to see where improvements can be made. Funding is still (rightly or wrongly) being given to those sports that our national teams can/should do well in.
The credit crunch and our country rising up from the recession has still left people watching what they spend. This goes for everyday items like food, energy & travel; things like new clothes, shoes, games/toys and sports being cut even more from people’s budgets.
So all of these factors don’t bode well for people getting up out of their armchairs and getting active. But what sports can we actually enjoy this summer for free?
Anyone for Tennis?
BANES Council provide tennis courts free of charge all year round. There are courts in Sydney Gardens in the centre of Bath and in Keynsham’s Memorial Park. In Bath you can just turn up and play as the gates are open, but in Keynsham you must first contact the council before playing.
In Bristol the council give you access to 34 courts around the city. Many of them are tarmac and most are under the management of their own tennis clubs.
Table Tennis, yeah I’m the master at that!
The Ping! Initiative has been busy in Bristol this summer putting up around 25 tables in and around the city centre. They went up in June and are here to stay until the end of August. Table Tennis is the sport that everyone thinks they are the best at, well bring down two bats and a ball and get playing.
This is the sport that costs the most money to play in pitch hire. Bath has recently gained the Odd Down Sports Hub and its new 3G pitch which you can hire out. However they have also kept a small goal with an old net for children to play on after school.