Ping! England 19/7/12

In the last year there has been a huge initiative towards building a stronger foundation for social Ping-Pong leading up to the London 2012 Olympics. A number of organisations have supported a three year project set up by Ping! to provide hundreds of table tennis tables around England for people to play free of charge. Their aim is to “to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK playing – to bring about a sense of community spirit and get more people playing sport on the run up to the Olympics”.

“Ping! is produced by Sing London – the non-profit organisation whose projects include London’s Street Pianos Project and Talking Rubbish bins. “A ping pong table is a relatively small intervention, but it’s amazing how much fun it can generate,” said Sing London’s Creative Director, Colette Hiller.”

It is co-produced by the English Table Tennis Association – the national governing body for table tennis – whose Chief Executive, Richard Yule, said: “Table tennis can be played by anyone, anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Ping! proves it. Great exercise and great fun is guaranteed on a Ping! table this summer.”

Ping! have achieved the statistics they set out for by currently having tables in 8 cities for the Olympic month and 450 Ping Pong tables in those cities. If you’re like me, then you will not have a bat and ball handy. But don’t worry because Ping! supplies the bats and balls for you to borrow for free and hand in after you have played. You’re likely to find tables in parks, train stations, shopping malls and even Heathrow. I couldn’t think of a better way to kill some time before your flight than to play a bit of table tennis at Heathrow Airport.

The past success of The Ping! project saw 100 tables set up in 2010 around the capital’s landmarks which has attracted the attention of big organisations like Sport England who have helped grow social Ping-Pong with significant funding set aside from the National Lottery of £250’000. This money has been used to supply non-profit organisations with the main point being that the table tennis is free to play. If you need a table you just apply; it is as simple as that.

This is what Sport England’s chief executive; Jennie Price had to say about what they want to achieve. “We’d like to see ping pong tables popping up everywhere – from village greens to university canteens, and city squares to community centres…We welcome applications from a range of not-for-profit organisations. The important thing…is to demonstrate that the tables will be well used.”
Here are some reasons why you should be a part of the Ping! Project.
• Ping pong makes people happy – planting tables in public spaces encourages passers by to spontaneously join in, bringing people together through sport and making people smile!
• Ping pong is popular – it’s the second most popular sport in the world and attracts people of all ages and backgrounds
• Ping pong is good for you and makes exercise fun – it boosts heart rate, stamina and co-ordination
• Ping pong is easy – people of all ages and abilities can enjoy playing and even a complete novice can enjoy the game


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