IRVINE'S only tennis courts are now one step closer to being refurbished.

It comes as Irvine Tennis Community was confirmed as one of nine projects across Scotland to receive investment from sportscotland to develop their facilities or create a new home for sport and physical activity.

The funding forms part of a total £700,000 investment from their Sport Facilities Fund.

Irvine Tennis Community took over the town's only courts on Thornhouse Avenue following a community asset transfer back in June of last year.

From there, ambitious plans were put in place, which included a new playing surface, club facilities and lighting - with total costs estimated at around £275,000.

And having previously been awarded £25,000 by the national agency to build a small clubhouse on the site of a previously demolished pavilion, sportscotland have now provided a futher £100,000 of funding for the club.

This forms part of a larger £200,000 funding boost for Irvine Tennis Community, with North Ayrshire Council awarding them £100,000 back in August.

Sportscotland had previously agreed to match this total, and the club has now received the funds.

The investment from sportscotland will help the club to transform the existing blaes courts into three full-sized and two small tennis courts, all with floodlighting.

The Thornhouse Avenue courts are the only courts in Irvine and since the club took over, they have built a strong tennis community of over 200 members.

The upgraded courts would allow them to continue that development and provide more and better opportunities for people in Irvine and the surrounding area to take part in tennis.

Welcoming the investment, Chris McKenna, Secretary of Irvine Tennis Community, said: “This is a chance to relaunch a club that was established over 40 years ago and create a tennis community for Irvine.

“By upgrading the courts we’ll be able to use them all year round and the clubhouse development will give us the facilities we need.

"We also plan to employ a coach which will mean we can have regular activities for adults and kids, and offer free coaching to children too.

“We want to bring something new to Irvine, to work with community groups and organisations like Scottish Sports Futures and Active Schools to provide affordable tennis for the whole community.”

While chief executive of sportscotland, Forbes Dunlop, added: “The aim of the Sports Facilities Fund is to support sustainable and inclusive projects with their ambitions of using sport and physical activity to enhance the lives of their local communities.

“The physical and mental health benefits of sport are well documented, but equally important is the ability to create a space where everyone is welcome to participate at their own level.

“Despite a challenging financial climate, Irvine Tennis Community has demonstrated real commitment to ensuring that more people in North Ayrshire will have an opportunity to become physically active and connected to their local community."