Swindon is home to Wiltshire's only venue for a sport billed as an exciting cross between squash and tennis.
The new venue, Padel4all Bassett Down, is in Hay Lane, and is a canopied three-court centre.
Padel4all founder and CEO Chris Wilkinson said: "We have reached a significant milestone in opening our first Padel4all centre and I am proud of the team’s hard work in getting us to this point. Now, the focus shifts to making sure we fulfil the needs of our centre’s community and continuing to develop the sport of padel in the area.
"We hope to welcome both existing players and those who have never played before. We want to see everyone on court and having fun!”
The centre is in the grounds of the Basset Down complex. The complex is best known for golf, but in the last 18 months facilities have been expanded to include a 78-seat restaurant and an extended bar and lounge area with views across the vale.
Basset Down GM Rosie Nutland said: "We are really pleased that padel tennis is part of our offering here at Basset Down. The centre will be a welcome addition to our clubhouse extension and new facilities, and we look forward to working closely with the Padel4all team in making Basset Down a first-class venue for the local and wider community.”
Padel is played in doubles, which enthusiasts say makes it highly sociable sport, with tactics, guile and finesse more important than strength and power. Devotees also say it is easy to learn, which means it is enjoyable for beginners trying the sport for the first time.
The centre offers full and extensive coaching programmes and community outreach initiatives to serve not just the Swindon community but the county.
The newly appointed Centre Manager and Padel Coaches have already started engaging with local groups to provide inclusive opportunities for people to play.
The Padel4all schools programme was unveiled during the final term of the school year and has proven to be a big hit with over 200 school pupils already involved. The programme introduces the basics of the game, teaches specific padel technique and demonstrates more advanced tactics and matchplay, through a series of fun and challenging drills.
Holly Alabidi, Head of Physical Education at Great Western Academy, said: “GWA have loved having Padel4all in during the Summer Term to run a series of sessions through our stu- dent enrichment programme. Padel Tennis has been a huge success and it’s fantastic to offer our pupils a new and exciting sport which is great fun to play.
"The Autumn follow-on sessions are already fully sub- scribed such has been its popularity and we look forward to welcoming the Padel4all team back in September.”
Padel4all have partnered with local and national organisations including Wiltshire Tennis and Wiltshire & Swindon's Active Partnership (WASP), to deliver various initiatives to get more people on court and trying the UK’s fastest growing racket sport.
WASP CEO Steve Boocock said: "We are always pleased to see new sports facilities being developed and being one of the first padel centres in the UK it offers a great opportunity for people in Wiltshire to try this easy to play, fun and sociable sport. A priority for us is that access to sport is available to all and that those involved in its delivery are aware of the barriers some people face.
"It's clear that the padel centre understands these issues and will be creating opportunities that are genuinely inclusive.”
Further information can be found at https://padel4all.com/basset-down/