Sprowston Springs into Table Tennis

Sprowston Senior TTC

Table Tennis Group at Sprowston Senior Citizens Club (SSCC)

The group originally started in October 2013, enthused following the screening of the Ping Pong film at the SSCC in September 2013. The film is part of the Ping Pong Care Campaign which is a national health and wellbeing campaign aimed at encouraging and promoting active ageing – keeping the body healthy, mind happy and socially involved.
(For further information on this the link for the Ping Pong Care Campaign is http://pingpongfilm.co.uk/about-care-campaign)

Sprowston Table Tennis Group started playing table tennis using existing small tables available at the venue – just putting the tables together to make different sized tables. We also used a ¾ sized table tennis table which was brought to the venue each week – mobile table tennis! The group was successful in obtaining funding of £500 from Active Norfolk and from that acquired 3 new table tennis tables (two full sized and one ¾ sized) together with table tennis bats, balls and nets.

The group meets every Tuesday morning between 10.00 and 11.30 at the Sprowston Senior Citizens Club, Wroxham Road (at the junction with Recreation Ground Road) – Postcode is NR7 8EN. The cost for each session is £2.00 – this includes tea/coffee and biscuits. (An important part for all social TT activity). No membership fee required – just turn up and pay and play on the day. All equipment is provided but players can bring their own bat if they have one. Players just need to wear suitable footwear for playing table tennis.

The group has been promoted as an activity for people aged over 50 years and we normally have around 10 to 12 people attending each week – in total there have been 311 ‘attendances’ at the weekly sessions since October 2013. The table tennis sessions have been advertised to the local community via posters, leaflets and local newsletters and at other local events and local venues, e.g. the library and in local supermarkets.

It is a very friendly group and everyone attending the weekly sessions enjoys the opportunity to play ‘social table tennis’ and have fun whilst playing – each session includes a break with plenty of talking (sometimes it’s about table tennis but usually it’s about something else!). The emphasis is on fun and keeping active whilst doing something you enjoy doing – and meeting new people. There is some discussion about the rules of table tennis but generally we are fairly ‘flexible’ on that issue.

The Table Tennis Group has been supported by the Sprowston Senior Citizens Club, who are now in the process of applying to Broadland District Council for funding from the Council’s Community Small Grants Scheme which will help towards providing improved storage facilities for the new table tennis tables and equipment.

The Table Tennis Group has recently formed its own committee and they will have their own bank account to pay in the money collected at the weekly sessions, so they will be operating as an independent group linked to the Sprowston Senior Citizens Club venue.

Earl Jacotine of Broadland Council with support from Wally Murrell  established the group and continue to enthusiastically run and promote the group. Local coach Mark Dare has attended to provide hints and tips on playing and it is a great success story with up to 24 keen table tennis players attending each week. A committee has been formed within the club, and the future looks very bright.

With a new Community Club at Sprowston High School opening early November, table tennis in the area has a bright future.

John Andrews
November 5, 2015