Fewer than half of table tennis clubs have been able to return to play since indoor sport resumed on July 25 – and lack of access to venues is the main problem for those which have not.

Of the 337 responses to our recent survey of clubs, 27.3% said they had already resumed playing. When those which have a planned date for a return are added, the total comes to 45% – meaning 55% currently have no prospect of starting up again.

Those based in leisure centres, secondary schools and religious venues such as church halls have a particularly low rate of return. Only three out of 18 clubs based at leisure centres have resumed play or have a date to do so. That means 83% of those clubs have no planned activity because of the non-availability of their venue.

Table Tennis England is helping to lead a campaign putting pressure on the Government to ensure sports halls are used for indoor sports as the country continues to emerge from lockdown.

At secondary schools, 66% of the 35 clubs using that kind of facility are not able to return, while the figure for church halls and other religious venues is 94% – only one of 18 clubs has been able to resume.

Of those based in community centres or village halls (a total of 128 responding clubs), 58% (75) clubs have not returned or have no date.

By contrast, 72% of dedicated table tennis venues have already returned and a further 13% have a date. This accounts for a total of 46 clubs.

Of those based in primary schools, 46% (nine clubs) have returned or have a date; 44% (16 clubs) based in multi-sports clubs have returned or are soon to do so.

Of those clubs which have not yet returned, 65% said the venue being closed or not allowing external hirers was one of the reasons – and 56% gave it as the main reason.

Clubs also reported committee concerns that it is not yet safe to return, sessions not being financially viable, problems social distancing and members not wishing to return yet. A small number (5%) said lack of volunteers was one of the reasons stopping them from returning.

We will now consider how we can further support clubs in light of the survey responses – a total of 33 clubs have requested a one-to-one call with our staff, which will be carried out this month.

We are also continuing to work on our guidance for leagues, along with a survey for leagues to provide greater detail on support required by those organising local competition.

Download the document below find out more about the survey responses, including hints and tips from clubs which have returned and how Table Tennis England has provided resources to help clubs back into action.

Click here to visit the Ready to Return section of our website for the latest information plus resources for clubs.