The North West Regional Training Centre in Garstang is the latest Table Tennis England Performance Club.

The centre, based at Garstang Community Academy, will partner with the Halton Centre for Excellence in Widnes to help nurture and develop young talent.

The centre joins Corby Smash, Bishop Auckland and Wensum in Norwich, becoming the fourth Performance Club since the programme was launched.

Coaching has taken place at the school since 2008 under the name of Garstang Table Tennis Club. In 2015 the Regional Training Centre was established, with financial and coach support from five clubs and leagues, to cater for a growing number of junior players searching for additional coaching outside their own clubs.

Players now attend the centre from clubs all over the North West including Wigan, Blackpool, Preston, Kendal, Lancaster, Morecambe, Barrow and Bolton.

Coaching sessions are held on four nights a week for four hours in the school gym, with 52 players attending the various sessions. There is also a monthly Sunday training session which takes place in the school sports hall, which regularly attracts more than 30 players from all over the region, with up to six coaches overseeing.

Centre chairman and head coach Graham Coupe said: “We are delighted to have been accepted as a Performance Club, we have a fantastic centre, great facilities, passionate and dedicated coaches, and hard-working players.

Graham Coupe leads a session at the centre

“Performance Club status is recognition of this, we are hoping that with guidance from the performance staff at Table Tennis England we will be better equipped to prepare our players for the next level, mentally, physically and on the table.

“Fourteen players from the centre qualified for the Under 10-13 National Championships in 2017 and we expect similar numbers this year. We are achieving results, we now want to take the players to the next level, which is why we took the step to apply for Performance Club status.”

Simon Mills, Director of Sport at Table Tennis England, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our fourth performance club and look forward to supporting Garstang to assist in the development of future generations of English players.

“We’re trying to broaden the network of coaches and players in the pathway, supporting clubs through the Centres for Excellence, sharing expertise, players and sessions and working together to help both sets of players get better in a manner consistent with the values of the England Performance Pathway.”

Click here to find out more about the Performance Club programme