ROUCHEL’s neglected Tennis Courts are getting a new lease of life with the boost of a $150,000 grant to create modern tennis courts as well as a new Pavillion and community hub on the grounds.
The clay tennis courts fell into a state of disrepute and were not used for around 10 years until the Rouchel Progress Association put their request forward for their share of funding from the Drought Community Program (DCP).
Michael Burke, who lives in Rouchel and is president of the Rouchel Progress Association said the DCP grant was acquired from the Federal Government through the Upper Hunter Shire Council.
“Applicants for the grant came from drought-affected areas such as ours. We were also awarded $20,000 by Bengalla Mining Company as part of their ‘Building Better Communities’ because we all recognised the need for a new central community hub in Rouchel,” Mr Burke said.
“The old clay tennis courts remained untouched for 10 years however in the past it was used extensively to host tennis tournaments and competitions however the clay-based courts required a lot of upkeep and when the people doing that couldn’t do it any longer, the courts were just neglected,” he said.
Mr Burke says the association has the vision to create a Pavillion with a BBQ area to create a space for the community to gather well into the future and help strengthen the tight-knit community of around 200 people.
“We want these courts to host tennis tournaments again, perhaps some netball too. Right now in Rouchel, there’s not a central meeting point for the community outside of the Rouchel School of Arts. There’s not really been anywhere for the community to go and this is going to make a huge difference to us,” Mr Burke said.
“Our hope is to have a place for all generations so grandparents and families can come and eat and watch the games. The Pavillion will face the tennis courts so it’s all set up for enjoyable times in the future. One of the tennis courts has a netball court painted on it so we’re looking forward to seeing some netball games,” he said.
“All in all, these upgraded tennis courts and surrounding areas will foster community involvement and spirit and help participation in sports. We’ve gone through years of drought, and now we’ll have a dedicated area where people from Rouchel, their family and friends can come and relax.”
Upper Hunter Shire Council (UHSC) Cr James Burns said the UHSC was impressed with the calibre of application from Rouchel Progress Association and the upgrade will bring the community of Rouchel together.
“We’ve been impressed with the way the progress association has handled this project. This will be a great asset for the people of Rouchel who have experienced drought and mouse plagues. It’s a positive step for Rouchel especially considering there’s no longer even the Rouchel Public School,” Cr Burns said.
Work on the courts began three weeks ago and is expected to be completed by 1 July this year.