AN East Renfrewshire sports club has netted two prestigious awards.

Giffnock Tennis, Squash and Hockey Club earned the coveted Club of the Year prize at this year’s Tennis Scotland Awards.

It was rewarded for demonstrating exceptional growth, as well as “outstanding” community links.

And there was further success for the club as director of tennis Mark Openshaw was named Performance Coach of the Year.

With the club’s 125th anniversary celebrations put on hold by the Covid pandemic, the focus was switched to outreach projects.

What started out as a simple food delivery service quickly grew to include online social events, a telephone buddy system, mental health support and daily physical skills challenges to support people during lockdown.

The club also engaged with groups hit hardest by the pandemic, starting with an Easter bunny drop to 300 young members, followed by a care package delivered to members over the age of 65.

Openshaw, meanwhile, was praised for running a performance programme which supported the continued development of players throughout last year.

He told Barrhead Sport: “It’s been a big team effort. Everybody at the club, including the players, parents, coaches, volunteers and committee, have all chipped in.

“We did loads of skills challenges and things like that over lockdown. I was posting videos on YouTube and our website.

“We started doing online fitness stuff as well and we were keeping in touch with everybody and asking how they were doing.

“As well as that, we were handing out Easter eggs and we were communicating with a lot of the older members to make sure they weren’t too lonely.”

During lockdown, the performance programme organised by 43-year-old Openshaw helped to make sure members were still able to hone their skills, even though competitive action was off limits.

He admits that being named Scotland’s Performance Coach of the Year is a humbling experience.

“It’s really nice to know that people at the club nominated you,” said Openshaw.

“I communicate with the players and have done over the years and you do get the feeling that they like being coached by you but it is nice that they have taken the time out to go and put you forward.”