Nine out of 10 table tennis clubs are back in action after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, and 95% have the capacity to welcome new members, according to the findings of our Club Audit.

More than 120 clubs took the time to complete the 2021 audit, helping us to plan our future support of clubs by providing insight into their operation and the challenges they face.

As a result of the findings, we will establish new work streams with the aim of creating increased and improved opportunities for people to participate in our sport.

Full analysis of the Club Audit responses, and action planning driven by them, is still taking place. Some of the headline findings are outlined below.

Table Tennis England Clubs, Schools and Leagues Manager, Claire Warner, said: “I’d like to thank all the club representatives who have taken the time to complete the Club Audit 2021. It provides such valuable insight into the current club landscape, and will be used to further inform club support going forward.

“There are some really positive trends coming through, which highlight how ambitious, willing and capable clubs are to grow our sport and provide more opportunities for people to play, and also to support Table Tennis England’s objectives around Diversity and Inclusion.

“Clubs have also made it clear where support is required, particularly in relation to coach and volunteer capacity, and this is something that we will build on in both the short and longer term.”

Return to play

Clubs told us: 90% of Clubs have return to play since the lifting of Coronavirus lockdown restrictions. For 10% of Clubs yet to return, the majority being Associate Clubs, venue unavailability is a leading challenge.

What we’re doing: Table Tennis England continue to support Clubs with accessing funding to return to play, which can include covering additional costs associated with having to move venue. More information about this funding can be found by clicking here.

 TT Clubs

Clubs told us: 84% of PremierClubs expressed an interest in TT Clubs, our new Club management platform designed to reduce the day to day administration of running a Club.

What we’re doing: Using TT Clubs, Clubs can:

  • Build a customisable Club website
  • Use the contact management system to group and email your members and contacts
  • Manage Club membership, by creating membership packages for your players to purchase either online or off-line
  • View the status of players Table Tennis England membership
  • Manage Club bookings, either by session type, or by table
  • Link with TT Leagues to see fixtures and results for competitions your Club has entered

PremierClubs can access all of the above features as a benefit of their membership, and Associate Clubs can access the website function.

Find out more about TT Clubs here.

 Club facilities

Clubs told us: Club facilities are currently considered fit for purpose, but more can be done to make playing spaces accessible for people from diverse backgrounds.

What we’re doing: We are working on an Environmental Checklist to support Clubs in making their facilities more accessible. We are taking account of Club differences in the process of creating this document, and findings from this research will guide refinements.

Club operations

Clubs told us: Looking at the number of tables at Clubs against playing space, trends indicate space for additional tables.

What we’re doing: For Clubs wishing to grow but needing tables, Ping! in the Community programs can support with adding new tables for expansion. It’s important to note that there must be an effort to drive new members, which would be gauged through survey data.

Find out more about Ping in the Community here.

Clubs told us: 95% of Clubs have the capacity to welcome new members. Reduced space and tables are leading reasons for the 5% of Clubs not able to welcome new members.

What we’re doing: Table Tennis England’s new Level the Table Grant Scheme, offers support to organisations creating opportunities for people to participate in table tennis.

Organisations can apply for between £250 and £2,500 of funding towards projects which cover at least one of the following areas:

More about this here.

Support from Table Tennis England

Clubs told us: More can be done by Table Tennis England to make Clubs feel valued.

What we’re doing: Using surveys similar to the last, we will be giving Clubs more opportunities to give feedback and share their thoughts on how we can do more to support.

Consultation and insight from Clubs plays a key role in informing projects, programmes and delivery. The developments of the TT Clubs platform are a recent example where Clubs have been at the heart of development and testing. We will consider ways of promoting this and sharing more widely.

There is currently the opportunity to input into Competition review by clicking here.

Clubs told us: 15% of Clubs were not aware of the Table Tennis England Clubs Newsletter.

What we’re doing: We will be looking at ways to extend the reach of the Club’s newsletter, which is currently sent only to the listed Primary Contact of PremierClubs and Associate Clubs.

Looking ahead

Clubs told us: 48% of Clubs have an action plan in place for the next 1-3 years. The top three priorities for Clubs in the next 1-3 years are growing junior participation, growing adult participation and engaging women and girls.

What we’re doing: As well as providing some general guidance on Club action planning via the Clubs newsletter, we will also be identifying and following up with those who indicated in the audit that they would like support in this area.