Soul Padel launches in Lancashire to bring world’s fastest growing sport to the region

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Photo by Oskar Hagberg

Padel – the world’s fastest growing sport is coming to Lancashire with the launch of Soul Padel.

The company, which has been founded by Wigan businessmen Mark Hewlett and Paul Lloyd, is looking to develop a number of indoor centres across the region that will open up the sport to the community.

Soul Padel’s ambition is to open its first centre within the next six months that will feature at least four padel courts, a café bar and a retail space. Soul Padel is also looking to establish the region’s first centre of excellence.

Padel, which is described as a mix of tennis and squash, is growing rapidly in the UK with the number of courts doubling in the past 12 months to around 400.

It has several high-profile celebrity players and investors including footballers Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, while both Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC have padel courts at their training grounds.

Tennis legend Andy Murray is an investor in the sport and will feature in a new padel tournament – the Hexagon Cup – which is being competed for next week and is expected to increase interest in the sport with ITV showing the semi-finals and final.

Given the growth of padel in the UK, Soul Padel is currently exploring potential sites across the area. It has identified a number of towns across Lancashire to invest in developing a padel centre as part of its business strategy.

Hewlett, who has a 25-year background in retail, health care and hospitality sectors, said: “Paul and I have created Soul Padel because padel is a game that is all about community and we want to create a padel community that’s open to all and enables people to meet up, play and connect with each other. Soul Padel welcomes everyone to the court.

“There isn’t the opportunity to do that at the minute and we want to fill that gap. There is no indoor facility in the region for anyone to learn the sport and be encouraged to play.

“Our goal is to engage with the community, especially to integrate with the schools to ensure they have access to the centre is essential from day one. There’s no reason why padel can’t be used as an outlet for young people who don’t have back gardens and are less privileged. If you connect with the schools, build connections with the parents, suddenly you’ve got an active community engaged in a sport that isn’t hard to learn.

“I think there’s a wonderful opportunity for padel to become that sport and for today’s youngsters to thrive. We’re aware the region is dominated by football and rugby league, but Paul and I also think there’s a place for padel in this area.”