Table tennis breaking the mould in Horsham District

Horsham Table Tennis Club (HTTC), supported by Horsham District Council’s Sports Development team, is heeding the call from the sport’s governing body to encourage and support more people to start and stay playing table tennis by modernising local competition structures.

Starting in mid-October 2018 the club is running a weekly programme of Table Tennis Matchplay Evenings on Friday nights at Collyer’s Sixth Form College in Horsham, a venue that can accommodate up to 15 tables if required.

These evenings will provide fun, friendly and more informal competition opportunities to accommodate players of all ages and experience levels in a sport which prides itself on its inclusive nature.

An ability-banded approach will ensure that whether you are new to the game, an established competitor or somewhere in between you will be appropriately challenged. And whether you want to play occasionally, part of the time or all the time, you can just sign-up and we’ll be able to flex around your availability.

 Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture Councillor Jonathan Chowen said:

 Promoting good health and wellbeing is at the heart of what we do at the Council and the Matchplay Evenings for table tennis do much to support this.

 “It’s great to see a new project like this being launched in our District and our Sports Development team working so hard to diversify their programmes to encourage as many people as possible to get active, socialise and enjoy their sport.

 Whether you are male or female, young or old, fit or unfit, able-bodied or disabled, and from whatever background, you’ll be welcome to these evenings.

“I would encourage as many of you as possible to sign up, come along and give table tennis a try.”

One of the key features of the evenings will be the adoption of a two hour rather than three hour timeframe to ensure adults and juniors alike get home at a safe hour. The format of the evenings will be drawn from a range of options including team nights, individual tournaments, doubles-play and handicap based events. There’ll even be “welcome music” in the hall to warm-up to!

HTTC is in the vanguard of a Horsham District-wide partnership of table tennis clubs, groups and agencies, notably including Horsham District Council’s Sports Development team, that is responding to Table Tennis England’s (TTE) ‘Better Experience Table Tennis’ (BETT) scheme that aims to freshen up and popularise the sport’s local competitive offer. The partnership’s vision, galvanised with TTE support, has been rewarded with a £9,200 Sport England grant to invest in programme development.

Progress so far by HTTC under the BETT initiative has been impressive. The club’s new junior committee has achieved significant growth via new coaching and competition opportunities, drawing on the extensive network of schools that it supports in tandem with the Council’s coaches.

On the adult side the club’s social and advanced ranks are also expanding and the club’s re-entry into Senior British League next year is another sign of progress.

For more information about the Matchplay Evenings or anything else about table tennis opportunities in the Horsham District visit www.horshamtabletennisclub.co.uk (and click ’Weekly Programme’) or contact Ian Ford at Horsham District Council by emailing Ian.ford@horsham.gov.uk or calling 07764 146338.

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