Haddington TT Club – nomination for Sports Club of the year 2016
“Anyone for table tennis?” was an article published in the East Lothian Courier in November 2002. It resulted in an agreement by six local enthusiasts to start a club, playing in the Corn Exchange. Until 2012 the membership was a dozen or so, playing on three, distinctly second-hand, tables. Then, with advice from the Haddington Sports Hub, we obtained a Big Lottery grant that paid for three new tables and the cost of coach training courses for two members.
In 2015 the Club embarked on a 5-year plan to boost the numbers at all ages playing table tennis across East Lothian by:
- Providing opportunities for young people to take up the sport through schools and community centres
- Establishing table tennis as a regular form of exercise for people of all ages, including as a therapy for dementia
- Providing coaching to improve the standard and enjoyment at all levels
We now have a membership of 80+, including juniors and seniors, with ages ranging from 6 to 81. We have attracted players of a high standard to join us and now look to achieve competitive successes. We now have eight qualified coaches with 5 more taking their coaching qualifications later this year. We also have an international-level umpire.
We run coaching sessions for juniors and seniors twice weekly as part of our club nights and have up to 50 members at evening sessions, playing on 10 tournament standard tables. In 2015/16 we entered two teams – specifically including juniors – in the Edinburgh & Lothians TT Leagues and next season we will enter four teams.
In 2015 the Club secured 4-year funding from Sportscotland for a part-time Development Officer. As a result the Club has launched Table Tennis East Lothian in partnership with Active Schools and with sponsorship support from Hab Fab Ltd and EDF Energy. The club is lending 12 tables and equipment to primary schools to promote and develop table tennis in lunch and after-school clubs. Taster sessions are already scheduled for 15 primary schools. After-school clubs have now started at Ross High, Musselburgh Grammar and Dunbar Grammar. Clubs at Preston Lodge and North Berwick are planned for 2017. As a result of this several hundred pupils each week across East Lothian will be playing table tennis.
Our next project is to expand Community Table Tennis across East Lothian. The Club has been chosen by Table Tennis Scotland as one of two Lottery funded pilot projects in Scotland to introduce daytime sessions for over 50s and disabled adults. These will start in September 2016 in the Corn Exchange with extra taster sessions in sheltered housing developments and for adults with early stage dementia.
Richard Yule, Chief Operating Officer of Table Tennis Scotland, adds: “Haddington Table Tennis Club are regarded by Table Tennis Scotland as one of our most progressive clubs and a role model for others across Scotland. Their progress is particularly impressive for such a relatively new club.”