Sport In Mind founder Neil Harris dropped into a table tennis session in Milton Keynes to meet players who are looking after their mental health through sport.
The popular weekly session at Woughton Leisure Centre offers free access to table tennis, as well as badminton, and aims to tackle social isolation and to help people who are experiencing mental health problems through exercise.
Sport In Mind is the UK’s leading mental health sports charity and delivers physical activity projects in partnership with the NHS and organisations including Table Tennis England.
In 2022, Sport in Mind delivered more than 300 hours of table tennis sessions across eight different counties – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Devon, London and Sussex.
The sessions are open to anyone over 17 experiencing mental health problems and take place in a safe, supportive and fun environment.
Neil said: “We’ve worked with Table Tennis England and supported thousands of people struggling with their mental health through table tennis.
“It gives people an opportunity to improve their mental, physical and social health. One of the most important things about the sessions is bringing people together who are quite isolated and building up some friendship circles and giving them the opportunity to socialise.”
Among those who attend the session at Woughton is Ashton, who said: “I’ve been coming here for a little while and it’s a place to meet people, especially when you live on your own, and talk about anything.
“As people get to know you, we start to help each other. I find it very, very beneficial. Once a week, I actually meet other people rather than sitting indoors just watching TV.
“I love the game and there’s lovely people here.”
The Sport in Mind service includes a large number of table tennis sessions across several counties. You can use the Sport in Mind activity map to find sessions local to you!
If you feel you, or someone you know may benefit from these sessions, please get in touch with the team on [email protected] or you can reach out the lead sports officer in your area (see details on the Sport In Mind website).