About us

Our Story

The Tennis Cafe began in 2005 as ‘Eastbourne Community Tennis’.

It was just Francis and Gemma with their car and some balls delivering sessions on the town’s public courts. Their children, Jade, Jamie, Jordan and Oliver always with them, either helping or doing homework.


In 2010 they formed Active Children Ltd, a not for profit company, and took over the current site in Gildredge Park. It wasn’t quite what it is now … derelict courts and a rotting tiny wooden shed. Over the years it has taken over £400k to renovate the courts and build the cafe and indoor studio.

Our vision has always been to provide a facility where everyone is welcome without the stuffy and restrictive approach of a traditional tennis club. We like to think we have been successful, with well over 1000 people visiting us each week and being four time winners of the Sussex LTA Community Venue of the Year award.

As well as getting lots of people playing tennis, we have also had some great results. We now have the best LTA Mini Tennis u8 Team in the county and are one of the strongest in every other mini tennis age group. Francis has also been awarded the Sussex LTA Coach of the Year award. Our coaching philosophy is really simple, we want tennis to become everyone’s lifetime sport. Our job is to make sure everyone develops all the skills required to really enjoy playing.

Our Tennis Team

Francis Mackie

Manager and Founder

  • Former ATP professional player and coach to ATP/WTA players

  • Former head of performance tennis for Surrey LTA

  • Former coach to UK national champions and numerous County champions

  • Former ITF Seniors 40plus UK no1 and World no3

  • LTA Coach Level 4

David Gabb

Tennis Director

  • Former coach to ATP/WTA players

  • Coach to UK national champions and numerous County champions

  • Over 40 students have gone on to have careers in tennis

  • Former Tennis Director at David Lloyd Leisure

  • LTA Master Coach Level 5

Gemma Mackie

Director and Founder

  • LTA Coach Level 2

  • Founder 

Joe Parks

Club Coach

  • Brighton University Sports Science undergraduate

  • LTA qualified coach

The Tennis Cafe

Gildredge Park, Eastbourne BN21 1HD



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