Up until 2015 a Table Tennis Club did not exist in the Borough of Epsom & Ewell. Active Surrey and Alexandra Table Tennis Club identified a demand to play table tennis through the Borough’s involvement in the annual Surrey Youth Games. Whilst the sport was receiving plenty of interest from young people wanting to take part, there was no exit route being provided post the Surrey Youth Games. The Leisure Developments Team would also receive general enquiries for Table Tennis and would have to signpost people to clubs out of the Borough.  Alexandra TTC successfully applied for funding and received a grant of £2,839 from Active Surrey to establish a new Satellite Club at Blenheim School.

Having the involvement of the Table Tennis Team Manager in the project was integral to its success. He could see the amount of interest that existed as well as the demand for continuing sessions. The club has so far allowed 23 new young people to take part in table tennis.

The Surrey Youth Games (SYG) aims to attract new people to sport. This is where the original target groups were identified (it helped having the NGB on board  who would have had some say on setting the targets group of players. The SYG has given people a way into the sport for free. The club has secured funding from Active Surrey for equipment as well as for the financing of coaching qualifications. The new equipment includes a ‘robot’ which enables young people of all abilities to learn and play the game whilst allowing the coaches the flexibility to spend time with all who attend. Using the Satellite Club funding, the club were also able to purchase additional tables to allow a wide range of participation, from those who want to focus on game play, to those who would like more in-depth coaching.

The Satellite Club has now affiliated with Table Tennis England and are working with Active Surrey on an additional grant application to expand provision at the club and work towards Clubmark. The club currently has an average attendance of 17 young people, with a peak of 22.

The club has opened its doors to all secondary school students in Epsom & Ewell and is run on a Saturday morning which means it is more accessible that the traditional after school time of running a satellite club. The club now charges a nominal fee of £4 per session with the aim of introducing a yearly club membership in the future. This means there is an organic flow from free sessions to memberships with the club.

We now have a club where we can signpost people to play Table Tennis. The club is now working with a neighbouring Borough to provide training sessions for the Surrey Youth Games. This means another Borough now has an exit route for interested participants and the club can grow by recruiting more members from wider areas.

The club will continue to be an exit route for the Surrey Youth Games participants. The club has developed a tiered approach that can cater for all levels within the club and created a pathway for beginners to start training informally and move into competition should the wish.  Active Surrey are using the club as a model to create new, sustainable hub clubs in table tennis and other sports across Surrey.

Thanks to James Lovell, Active Surrey for the case study and photographs

Satellite Club