ETTU encourages National Federations to celebrate World Table Tennis Day

The European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) today called on National Federations and clubs throughout Europe to find innovative ways of promoting table tennis and engaging people in the sport ahead of World Table Tennis Day on 6 April.

Many activations have already been prepared across Europe to celebrate this special occasion. In the UK, Brighton Table Tennis Club has some special plans for next week and it includes 30 outdoor table tennis tables…

Tim HOLTAM and fellow table tennis star WEN Wei co-founded Brighton Table Tennis Club (BTTC) in 2007, originally to give working-class kids from deprived suburbs something to do, but it has since grown into something much bigger.Nowadays, the club has its own full-time centre in Kemptown and 200 tables across Sussex, including in a homeless centre, hospital and prisons.

Over the past year, they have run games on 30 outdoor table tennis tables across the city, keeping people fit and connected. They will be out playing on them again this Tuesday for World Table Tennis Day on 6 April.

"There are no parameters as to who can join: anyone of any age can come and play," said Tim. "We've added different groups over the years and it's now used by other clubs as a model for community integration and social cohesion."

The club works with children in care and refugees and visits special schools.

Things snowballed six years' ago after a social worker brought a Vietnamese boy to the club and an Afghani boy brought six of his friends.

In 2016, BTTC became the world's first Club of Sanctuary for its work with refugees, a title previously reserved for cities and schools.

"It's been great for their sense of belonging, identity and being welcomed in the local community and for their English," said Tim. "They're about the loveliest kids you'd ever meet. If you make a journey across the world on your own, you're pretty resilient."

Tim said it had also changed local young people's attitudes towards refugees for the better.

The club also runs table tennis sessions at Brighton's Patching Lodge retirement village. One lady, Betty, who is 100, still enjoys her table tennis.

"Age is no barrier to playing. Betty is still going strong and hitting balls," said Tim. "We all need to be part of a number of communities and the past year has been so hard. A lot of people have been struggling and table tennis is great because it really improves your mental and physical health."

Both men are part of Brighton & Hove Buses' Above & Beyond initiative, which celebrates people who have gone out of their way to make a positive impact on other people's lives.

Their faces can be seen on the side of a route 1 bus, along with more community champions on 23 other new buses, as they travel between Mile Oak, Whitehawk and the city.

Each bus features a story about their amazing achievements on panels and on TV screens inside. People were nominated by local community groups and members of the public.



For more about Above & Beyond:

Club’s web site

Ettu Partners