ARC Planning Application: Westward Ho! Park

Atlantic Racquet Centre is a Community Charity, which is dedicated to promoting, encouraging and facilitating the playing of tennis and other racquet sports, plus gym and fitness, to benefit the public health well-being of the whole community within Torridge from young to old at an affordable and accessible level. 

ARC have joined with Torridge District Council to submit a planning application for a mixed development, which includes two brand new tennis courts, a community building, and a children’s play area, all to be located on the existing tennis courts and park site in Westward Ho!

 It is ARC’s opinion that the proposed TDC scheme represents the best opportunity for high quality tennis facilities to be made available to the whole community in Westward Ho! 

ARC have no financial commitment to this project, and will not benefit financially in any way from this scheme. They are however prepared to promote the facilities and provide tennis related activities on the two new courts. 

They are prepared to provide Tennis Coaching for children and adults, holiday camps for local children and holidaymakers, and encourage local schools and other community groups to utilize the courts.  

 ARC Trustees

ARC Raises £400 for Macmillan at Charity Coffee Morning!

Over 70 people took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday 28th Sept hosted by Atlantic Racquet Centre.

As well as helping to devour the fantastic array of freshly baked homemade cakes and savouries, they enjoyed trying out the new badminton facilities and played table tennis and tennis.

A huge thank you to everyone who supported it by baking, helping with and taking part to raise £400 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Macmillan coffee morning

Tennis courts are open!

The contractors have finished the resurfacing work and the courts are available again from Saturday 28th October!

They will remain temporarily black with white lines until they are repainted in Spring 2018 with the original colour scheme.

The full coaching programme will resume at ARC after the half term break on Monday 30th October, and club nights for members of the tennis and sports club will continue as before on Tuesday and Friday evenings.

Want to use the courts without purchasing one of our membership packages? No problem.  Pay and Play – book your court for just £5.00 per hour. Book here!



All after-school and weekend coaching sessions will take place at Bideford College for the next 2 weeks. 

We’ve recently received the hugely exciting news that our indoor tennis courts will be laid commencing on the 7th October, however the court surfacing company are also resurfacing our outdoor courts at the same time due to a fault in the tarmac which is covered by our warranty. This means that our lovely purple courts will be out of action for at least 3 weeks.  

All coaching sessions scheduled between 7th October and 21st October will take place at Bideford College. Sessions will still be led by our great coaches and all equipment will be provided as usual.

When arriving at Bideford College, please park in the main car park and enter the tennis courts via the large gate to the right of the courts. Do not enter via the main school reception. Toilets and changing facilities are available for us to use.

All sessions will take place at their usual time excluding those listed below:

Saturday sessions 9.30 – 10.30am (RED 1, RED 2, CARDIO, U12 DEVELOPMENT 1) – Unfortunately due to a long standing booking at Bideford College the courts are unavailable at this time.

Saturday RED 1, RED 2, CARDIO, U12 DEVELOPMENT 1 will take place at the earlier time of 8.30am – 9.30am for the next 3 Saturdays. Apologies for any inconvenience caused by this unavoidable change.

We apologise for this information being sent out at such short notice. As if often the case with building works there were complications meaning that we did not get the final dates for re-surfacing until this week.

Please note that Tuesday morning Cardio Tennis will not run until the courts are re-opened.

Tom Vinall
Head Coach & Sports Development Officer

Many of you will now be aware that the outside courts at the centre have been scheduled to be re-laid under warranty during October. We have now received confirmation from the specialist contractor, Chiltern Sports, of their planned programme.

Work will commence on Saturday 7th October. All courts will be unavailable at the commencement of these works. We anticipate the courts will remain unavailable for three weeks. Courts 5 and 6 should become available week commencing 30th October, in the following two weeks the remaining courts will be completed.

This schedule is entirely weather dependent, adverse conditions will delay the programme. We will notify you, through the website and Clubspark, as and when the courts become available.

On completion of the resurfacing works the courts will be left black with temporary lines painted on them. They will be fully painted in Spring 2018 with the current colour scheme.

The contractors will also commence work on laying the indoor tennis courts in October. We anticipate these will become available in January 2018 and plan to offer table tennis and badminton next year as well as tennis. We will keep you informed of progress through the Autumn.

Separate arrangements are being made to ensure the planned coaching programme can continue by using courts at Bideford College and Westward Ho! Tom Vinall is leading on this and will update those affected.

We apologise for any inconvenience the closures may cause.

Martin Morris – Chair ARC Trustees

Apprentice Club Coach Appointed


The trustees are pleased to welcome Tom Poole to the growing team as Apprentice Club Coach. Tom started on 11thSeptember and will be working 30 hours a week initially assisting with a variety of sessions across the full programme under the leadership of Tom Vinall, Head Coach and Sports Development Officer.

Tom is from Barnstaple and has represented Division 1 side Braunton A in the summer league for several years. He has worked part-time as an assistant coach at Tarka Tennis Centre whilst completing college and joins us as a Level 1 Assistant coach. Over the next year he will complete both his Level 2 and Level 3 coach qualifications.

Many will have met Tom before either at our annual tournament or out on court in the summer league. His hours are mainly in the afternoon and evening so you may well meet him soon; please introduce yourself and offer him a warm welcome to the ARC family.

Full Time Community Coach Appointed

The trustees are pleased to announce the appointment of Lottie Koval to the full time position of Community Club starting in late July.

She is already a very popular member of the part time coaching team for mini reds and following the successful interview process she will work closely with Head Coach Tom Vinall to continue to grow and develop our exciting programme.

Lottie will lead on specific projects such as targeted schools outreach and competitions.

Having played tennis at the club since her junior days, she is now an A team player. This year Lottie won the Devon LTA Young Volunteer of the Year award and went on to win the South West region Young Volunteer of the Year, as a result she will represent the region at the national awards yet to be held.

School Visit to ARC

On Friday 9th June, 60 children from Year 6 at St Margaret's visited ARC. Following on from Tennis Tom's outreach work in school, they chose to come to the tennis centre for an afternoon as one of their Leavers trips. They had a great afternoon with a fiercely competitive doubles competition and fun coaching games. Every child joined in and had great fun and amongst the winners were two children with disabilities who had never won anything in sport before. Inclusion at it's best, thanks to ARC.

Ready to Rally

Over the winter of 2016/2017 our Ready to Rally Reward Cards kept our loyal players turning out in all weathers! Now that the sun is shining, most of us have collected our 15 stamps and got our t-shirts - and boy aren't they looking so cool!


The trustees of Atlantic Racquet Centre are pleased to announce the recent appointment of Patrick Wilson as Community Club Coach. He has joined the team on a part time basis and will work closely alongside Head Coach, Tom Vinall.

Having coached in a variety of environments including a busy coaching programme in Plympton and several seasons abroad for Neilson Holidays, he will assist in further expanding the successful tennis programme Tom has established in local schools and at the facilities here.

He will take the lead on the launch of our disability tennis programme at ARC. Having received special training from the LTA, Pat's first few weeks will be spent meeting with local disability centres and groups in order to tailor our programme to suit their specific needs. He will then focus on securing grant funding to deliver a targeted disability outreach programme in the new year with a view to creating a sustainable weekly disability tennis programme here at ARC, aimed at all disabilities and special needs.

Pat is currently coaching a variety of the sessions on our weekly programme and will oversee the organisation and running of the annual grade 4, 5 & 6 competitions at the centre and encourage our many junior players to enter local tournaments.

If you wish to get in touch with him regarding individual lessons or any of his upcoming projects at the club please find his details here...

The annual Report of the Chair of Trustees


AGM – 7th December 2016

St Margaret’s School

Significant progress has been made this year toward achieving the final vision for ARC. The construction of the building envelope began late spring and will be complete early in 2017. We will then be able to start internal works to develop the sports facilities. However, this work cannot commence until funding is in place to enable us to engage with the various specialist suppliers. We estimate our current funding gap to be in the region £400,000, with a total project cost of £2.75 million. Our emphasis now is to raise these funds through the following four strands:

1. Buy a brick – Build a legacy. This is accessible through our website The minimum donation is £100 per brick and in return supporters will have their names on our ‘buy a brick build a legacy’ wall in the new centre. It’s easy to do, simply fill out a form and enclose your donation indicating whether a gift aid claim can be made. Each gift aid donation allows us to recover an additional 25%. This is open to anyone who wishes to donate and I’m pleased to say that half the funds raised so far are from non-members.

2. Corporate sponsorship – we are currently working on opportunities to engage with local businesses in effort to gain their support in return for pre-determined packages.

3. Partnership with local authorities – we are developing our relationships with all local authorities to maximise the opportunities that are available to us. Following the publicity of the Davis Cup Trophy Tour the profile of the centre has been raised significantly with members of local authorities showing their support.

4. Grant applications to National Sports Governing Bodies and identified funders.

Clearly there remains a huge amount of work to do, the bulk of this falls to the trustees, who have worked tirelessly this year to get us where we are, I do thank them for all their efforts. We often talk about the need to increase our capabilities through the introduction of people to support the trustees. While we have had a good range of skills we are lacking in marketing abilities and clearly would benefit from any assistance with our fund-raising activities. With the number of new members joining there may well be support and skills available that we are unaware of. If anyone is interested in assisting us, please speak with me or one of the other trustees.

Apart from the obvious need to raise funds next year will see the trustees working closely with the directors of ARC Tennis and Sports Club as we begin to look forward to additional sports coming to ARC. There are details we will need to formalise such as memberships, subscriptions and community access. We will continually look to see how this centre can benefit the local communities through the promotion of sports and active lives as we look to achieve our vision which has been described in our new business plan as:

Atlantic Racquet Centre has an exciting vision: to provide a community orientated multi sports complex for recreational, sporting and leisure use with over 1000 users per week by 2020.

Use of our current facilities over the past year continues to increase. Tom’s work with the coaching programme continues to be a great success. During the summer 196 people per week were receiving coaching; even now there are 176 people a week being coached. Coaching takes places either on the
ARC courts or at schools through the excellent outreach programme. Tom has been so successful we have now employed a second coach, Patrick Wilson, to provide a consistent level of support to the programme. Patrick’s employment means that we will now be able to progress, among other things, disability tennis, this has been one of our aims for some time and will be good to progress.

2016 has seen ARC make remarkable progress which we are determined to continue into the foreseeable future – however, I imagine the question on most people’s minds is “That’s fine, but when will all this be finished?”. It is very difficult to give a definitive answer, however, the trustees objective, subject to funding, is to have the tennis hall up and running by late summer 2017 to enable the delivery of indoor tennis, badminton and table tennis by autumn 2017. While acknowledging, there is a lot of work yet to be done it does feel like we are in ‘touching distance’ to achieving what has been the dream of many people for a long time.

Having thanked the trustees for all their work and support I have, once again, to thank Andy Lobato, who is not a trustee, but continues to work on this project devoting a huge amount of his time and providing support and guidance to the trustees. Finally, I must also thank Ginette Berry, who is not a member of ARC. Ginette provides administrative support to the trustees, attending all our meeting and taking the minutes, it is no small task but one Ginette has always cheerfully undertaken.

Martin Morris - Trustee