Work will begin in January on a state-of-the-art table tennis facility at Carlton le Willows Academy, funded in part by a £200,000 grant from Table Tennis England.

The project – a flagship development for Table Tennis England – aims to create purpose-built, national standard facilities to further develop talent in the sport both within school and in the wider community.

The grant is part of partnership funding which will cover the total cost of £425,000. Builders W R Bloodworth & Sons are due to begin work in January and the 3,000 sq ft centre is set to open in September 2016.

Craig Weaver, Head Teacher of Carlton le Willows, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us. The great thing is that we would provide opportunities for children to develop from grass roots to elite level, based on recreational tennis at break times through to after school club coaching, from beginner to advance level, straight through to club coaching and competition.

“It will also be a fantastic community resource. We have some great ideas about how to promote, not just elite table tennis opportunities for adults and young people, but also opportunities for junior schools and family participation in the sport.”

The table tennis connection at Carlton le Willows began with the introduction of just four outdoor tables at the school last September. There are now a total of 26 tables – both indoor and outdoor – as well as canopies for outdoor use all year round.

The Academy quickly formed a partnership with Nottingham Sycamore Table Tennis Academy, securing professional coaching at an after school club.

And then in the summer, Carlton le Willows was designated as a venue for the Nottingham Talent Development Centre – a partnership between Table Tennis England and Nottingham Sycamore Table Tennis – meaning talented youngsters from across the region are invited to attend additional professional coaching sessions at the school.

And Craig said table tennis has brought other wide ranging benefits to the Academy, helping students further develop their personal skills and qualities and resulting in a massive impact on the school ethos and attitudes to learning.

He explained: “Students often say that being able to play during break time and lunch enables them to release the pressure they feel in lessons and it is also a great social mixer. Students play in different year groups and social groups, helping the warm school ethos that exists to develop even further.”

The new building will be used by Nottingham Sycamore for coaching sessions and national competitions during evenings, weekends and school holidays, while the Academy will have use of the facilities during the school day as part of its curricular and extracurricular offer at the school.

It is hoped that work may begin on the new facility in the spring.

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