Three staff at Table Tennis England have launched a new social table tennis club in Milton Keynes, with more than 40 people attending the opening session.
Emma Young, Sandra Pelizzoni and Christine Wetherall, who all work at the head office, are running Social Ping Pong MK TTC with the principal aim to get more people active and enjoying table tennis.
The not-for-profit club is based at Newton Leys Pavilion in Bletchley. The centre invested in equipment just before the pandemic but were not able to get sessions off the ground due to lockdowns. Now Emma, Sandra and Christine have stepped in to run sessions every Wednesday during term-time.
Emma, who is Finance Administrator at Table Tennis England, said: “We just want to get people to have a go, to offer table tennis to everyone and to make it affordable.
“There’s a lot of people who want to play socially, without the competitive element, and also we wanted to hold a bat & chat session in the evening, for people who work during the day. We’ll keep the sessions under review and adapt them to what people want to do
“We had about 40 people there on the first night, it was really good and more than we expected and there was a range of ages and abilities.
“We’re three people who only play for fun and we’re really proud to have got this going.”
Emma said if anyone who attends the sessions decides they want to play more competitively, they will be put in touch with other local clubs or coaches.
At each session, there is a slot for children from 6.30-7.15pm, followed by Bat & Chat from 7.30-8.45pm alongside a women & girls’ session from 8-8.45pm in the venue’s second hall.
The sessions are free to attend, with donations accepted. Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council are making the venue available rent-free until April 1.
The club has advertised on local social media platforms, including the I Play Table Tennis in Milton Keynes Facebook group.
William Allen, Environment and Premises Manager for the Town Council, said: “We’re very pleased to see the formation of the table tennis club being run out of Newton Leys Pavilion. Since its opening in late 2018, we have wanted more sport being played at the pavilion, its main use having leaned more towards non-sporting activities.
“The council is committed to working with community groups that offer activities and services to the local community and this table tennis club is a great addition to the offering of local social and sporting activity available.
“It’s great to know that there is something new and fun to do to keep residents busy, healthy and active and we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure the club is well supported while it establishes.”
Click here to visit the club’s Facebook page.