BASINGSTOKE residents and sports enthusiasts have reason to celebrate with a groundbreaking addition to the local sports scene.

The UK's first low-cost outdoor squash court made its grand debut on Saturday, August 19, at Basingstoke Sports and Social Club in Fairfields Road.

The Bounty Squash Club, affiliated with the Basingstoke Sports and Social Club, introduced this innovative initiative, providing a three-quarter-sized outdoor squash court designed primarily for children to learn and enjoy the sport for free.

Spearheaded by Simon Ward, 57, an engineer by trade and a dedicated member of Hampshire Junior Squash, this visionary project aims to break down barriers to sports participation, especially among the younger generation.

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Simon, from Kempshott, shared how the idea took shape during the challenging days of the Covid-19 lockdown.

With indoor sports halted, the squash community found themselves looking for creative ways to stay connected to the game.

Simon's extensive involvement in squash and his background in engineering led to the creation of prototypes for outdoor squash courts on his driveway.

Basingstoke Gazette: Simon (in white top) at the DIY squash court he built.Simon (in white top) at the DIY squash court he built. (Image: Contributed)

This seedling of an idea blossomed into a full-fledged project with the support of Hampshire residents and organisations.

“I’m a bit of Blue Peter style man and I thought this idea could work,” Simon said.

“I approached the Lottery and Sport England for grants and we also crowdfunded nearly £12,000. The club was also supportive and I built the outdoor court in the car park of the club.

“It’s free to use and very accessible. It was an experiment and the objective was to try and make a functional squash court that was good enough for juniors. I think we've definitely achieved that.”

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The outdoor court is free to use, and rackets and balls will be available free of charge with a refundable deposit of £5.

There are three indoor squash courts at the club in addition to the cricket rugby, and football facilities. The club has a thriving junior squash section with about 35-40 kids and adults.

For more information and to book the court, please contact