PING pong balls at the ready – Plymouth is set to go table tennis crazy this summer.
Plymouth City Council is finalising plans for Ping! Plymouth, a new scheme to encourage people to play table tennis across the city after securing more than £15,000 funding.
We have become a Ping city thanks to an application from Plymouth City Council’s Sports Development Team to Table Tennis England, which could see 40 table tennis tables pop up across the city for people to use for free.
Last year 16 areas including Exeter, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Liverpool and Sheffield, took part in Ping, with locations as diverse as Brighton Pier, and floating tables at Bude and Penzance in Cornwall.
And organisers are still on the lookout for original Plymouth spots for the tables to be installed for up to nine weeks from June this year.
As a trial, a table tennis table is in place Windsor House for staff to be able to use.
Councillor Peter Smith, deputy leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “We are very excited about the Ping! Plymouth scheme.
“We have already been donated a Ping! Table tennis table which we have at Windsor House for our staff to be able to use during breaks.
“It’s only been there two weeks and already more than 50 people have used it during their lunch breaks, ranging from security staff to social care.”
The Sports Development Team has been working with the Plymouth Table Tennis Partnership and Devonport Community Leisure on two bids for funding to enhance the city-wide Ping! Plymouth project and planned legacy.
Ping! Was launched in London in 2010 and has since travelled to 18 other cities and engaged over 500,000 people.
Dr Kelechi Nnoaham, director of public health at Plymouth City Council, said: “The Ping! Plymouth project could be a great opportunity to help people across Plymouth incorporate health and fitness into their everyday routines more easily.
“By improving access across the city we really hope more people take up table tennis and become more active. With up to 40 Ping! Table tennis tables around the city there’s bound to be a table near you so why not give it a try?
“It also compliments our Thrive Plymouth public health strategy which recognises physical inactivity as one of four lifestyle behaviours – along with smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy diet – that together contribute to 54 per cent of deaths in Plymouth. “Anything that makes it easier for people to exercise can only be a good thing – and the beauty of this project is that it would also be free.”