Table Tennis England’s work to positively impact the lives of people with mental health problems through sport has been commended by MPs.

Our Head of Development Emily St John and Clubs & Disability Manager Steve McFadyen appeared at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Sport at the Houses of Parliament this week.

They spoke about our commitment through our table tennis initiatives to improve the awareness of mental health and create more opportunities for people to get involved in table tennis, have fun, and improve their mental health and well-being.

They also outlined projects, partnerships and case studies which show how table tennis is already beginning to make a real difference.

Emily St John and Steve McFadyen at the Houses of Parliament
Emily St John and Steve McFadyen at the Houses of Parliament

Table Tennis England is one of 210 signatory organisations on the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation and has pledged to work alongside the charity Mind to tackle mental ill health and the stigma that surrounds it.

And we were one of only three of those signatories – alongside Boxing England the Karate Union of Great Britain – to be invited to attend the APPG by the Sport & Recreation Alliance, which led the presentation to the group, made up of seven MPs.

“It was a very different working day, but great to be working on such a key subject and demonstrating the power of table tennis to some key influential figures in the country,” said Steve McFadyen.

“For me it was a great day and a really special experience. To be able to showcase the work we are doing as an organisation in Parliament shows how seriously we are taking this work and how passionate we are about using table tennis to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

“Signing the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation has really kick-started the work we are doing with Mind. It’s great to see the positive benefits table tennis can have on people’s lives. Using our sport to help transform lives is a fantastic part of the job.”

The meeting was co-chaired by Chris Heaton-Harris MP and James Morris MP – the former chairs the APPG for Sport and the latter chairs the APPG for Mental Health. In addition to the members of the APPG, a number of other MPs and Peers were in the audience.

Following on from the meeting, the attending MPs and Peers have been asked to become ambassadors for the Charter and to promote sport and mental health in their communities.

Mr Heaton-Harris and Mr Morris will also write to the Department of Health to discuss further opportunities to link sport and health.