Table tennis a hit with Laleham Gap teachers

Teaching is one of the most rewarding, but also one of the most stressful of occupations. Most teachers would agree that striking good ‘work-life’ balance is essential. However, making this happen can be a big challenge.

The project

Paul Ursell, a teacher at Laleham Gap School, set up a staff table tennis club which runs for one hour every Thursday after school hours. The club has a relaxed atmosphere with staff being encouraged to join in whenever they can make it, and involves social play, lots of games, some coaching if requested and even battling against their own table tennis robot. The majority of the hour is spent playing team games, with ‘traditional’ games including Round the Table, and Laleham Gap invented games.

The result

A total of 40 staff have now attended the staff table tennis club, many on a regular basis, with various members of staff playing together – including support staff, teachers and the Head Teacher. As the school is comprised of Primary, Secondary and Residential, part of the success of the club has been staff members meeting, chatting and mixing with people they may never have spoken to.

It’s a fantastic club and a fun, light-hearted way to end a school day, especially if it’s been a difficult one”

“It’s a great chance to socialise and get to know staff members”

It’s nice for a bit of teamwork. It doesn’t matter if you’re not great at it, you can just have a go and not feel silly”

 

40

employees took part

100%

agreed the sessions were great for social mixing

79%

said the club helped to reduce stress levels

74%

said the sessions improved their physical health

58%

enjoyed the stimulation of a fresh challenge

Get in the Loop

To set up your very own workplace club, simply get some colleagues together for regular sessions and play however you want!

Whether it be social or competitive, table tennis is a sport for everyone.

Get your own workplace table tennis package 

Building bridges with table tennis

From improving mental well-being to tackling social isolation, table tennis is the perfect tool to provide an inclusive activity within your community. We spoke to Baildon Methodist Church, who used table tennis to engage with their local community with great success.

It was a member of the congregation who first suggested table tennis as an activity for the church, not just to increase income, but to engage with the further community in the parish of Shipley, Bradford. The sessions began as two hour sessions once a week, and word quickly spread.  The sessions attracted a wide range of abilities and ages, ranging from 12 to 87. Within a year, an additional session was established to cope with the demand and a community was born.

Jane, who holds duty within the church, told us of their successes:

Firm friendships have been formed spilling out into table tennis elsewhere and on numerous occasions, small groups who met through our table tennis sessions going off on holiday together.

 

The community in Shipley have engaged with the church, despite many members being of other faiths, and those of no faith. The sessions have provided a safe space for individuals to seek support, meet new people, and get active whilst having fun.

 

We have helped individuals who have had difficulties which we have supported them through. The great advantage of table tennis is that all ages can play, we have seen older people attend and in several months we have noticed an improvement in balance, agility, alertness, outlook and general fitness. We provide companionship and loads of fun for those who live alone.

 

Jane stresses that the sessions at the church are very much a team effort of church members, other faiths and non-believers, who have actively got involved in their community.

 

Some of our other faiths and non-believers have attended other church activities. Additionally, the table tennis money and knock on to other events/activities helps us pay the bills and provide charitable support elsewhere. Apart from the financial benefits to the Church we have also been able to offer Christian fellowship to individuals who have faced a difficult situation in their lives or just simply needed companionship. This Christian support was only possible because of table tennis as it brought other faiths and non-believers into our church. 

 

As Jane has experienced, table tennis can be a great tool for improving mental wellbeing, and providing a space for people to connect and share. Just 10 minutes of physical activity has been proven to increase mental alertness, positive mood and energy, reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Table tennis has the unique benefits of being a fully inclusive activity, regardless of your age, background, abilities or disabilities. But most importantly, it’s a fun way to get active without needing a change of clothes, specialist equipment or any history of playing; just grab a bat and have a go!

Here’s how table tennis can improve your mental well-being (click image below to expand) ….

 

 

Loop in the Community is a subsidised table grant scheme programme, available to community groups, community venues and more.

Find out more about Loop in the Community 

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