In early 2021, Table Tennis England and Sported, a UK-wide charity promoting fairness and equality for young people through grassroots sport and physical activity, created a partnership to pilot a Birmingham-focused project.

The pilot was designed to become an evolution of the successful Ping! programme using a revolutionary community-centred approach adopting a ‘hub-and-spoke’ model to build table tennis opportunities within communities with a distinct lack of access to the sport.

With the Commonwealth Games being hosted in Birmingham this summer, the partnership and hub-and-spoke projects provide a perfect opportunity to put a spotlight on table tennis within the city and create a lasting legacy of the games across Birmingham. Find out more about table tennis at the Commonwealth Games here.

How does the ‘hub-and-spoke’ model work?

Sported identify a local organisation to act as a core ‘hub’, providing training, equipment and funding to enable them to establish new and develop existing table tennis activities. The ‘hub’ then reaches out into the local community to create ‘spoke’ sites, which provide further opportunities to participate in table tennis locally and engage a number of under-represented groups.

Three hub-and-spoke footprints will be created over an 18-month partnership with Sported, with each phase lasting for six months, after which a sustainable landscape of table tennis will have been created.

The first phase of the project began in June 2021, which saw Pitch 2 Progress (P2P) becoming the first hub site. P2P are a Community Interest Company (CIC) who work with young adults who live in areas of high deprivation to help them progress towards positive and healthy futures.

To support this project, Table Tennis England provided P2P with two tables, complete with bats and balls, along with a £1,000 activation grant for them to engage spoke locations in their venue or in venues with existing table tennis provision.

P2P hosted a number of tournaments over the summer of 2021, using their two tables outside every day during August to engage the local community, and attracted up to 40 young people every day in the activity. Since the summer they have established sessions twice a week – one for girls and one for boys.

P2P worked within the local community to develop the four spoke sites:

  • Saltley Women’s FC
  • Green Lane Mosque
  • Birmingham Muslim Foundation
  • Saltley School

Together the hub and spoke sites have a total of 111 registered participants from a range of ethnicities, ages, backgrounds and genders.

We recently visited P2P to see their project in action and discover what impact table tennis has had on their community. Watch the video below to see what we found!

To talk to us about how we can support with bringing table tennis to your community, contact [email protected]