Before Ping! was conceived back in 2009/10, there was only a handful of public ping pong tables in London. Since then, as the Table Tennis England run programme catapulted outdoor table tennis into the mainstream, it’s no longer a surprise to see an outdoor table as one moves through the city. Ping! London has directly and indirectly introduced ping pong to hundreds of public spaces across the city and this has inspired tens of thousands of people to play on them every year.
The Ping! London team are now on a mission to make the most of this infrastructure by working with a variety of different partners – from local authorities, charities, resident participation teams, park user groups and even enthusiastic players to activate tables, build social groups, establish competitions, encourage local ownership of tables and help people build table tennis into active habits.
Only in 2018, Ping! London have announced new partnerships with Participatory City Foundations, Tower Hamlets Council, Newham Council and residents groups to introduce tables into Mile End Park, Millwall Park, the People’s Corner, Valetta Grove and Hill Court Estate in Stoke Newington. The Ping! London team are working closely with these partners to build support and ownership and use the existing community to champion the tables.
Case Study: Working with Participatory City to bring table tennis to the People’s Corner
Ping! London worked with Participatory City to embed table tennis within the People’s Corner, a green space in the heart of Dagenham chosen by local residents, that was redesigned to become a shared space for gathering, playing, growing and relaxing.
Wayne Trevor, the Development Director at Participatory City hopes that the tables in the People’s Corner “will be a point of interest and activity, encouraging people to interact with their green spaces in a different way, perhaps to stop and play a game of table tennis instead of just walking through. We are excited to experiment with residents on how the table will be used and what fun ways of playing they will come up with”. Wayne thinks that “a Ping! table will bring interest and an accessible activity to the any community.”
Ping! London is now looking to continue to support local groups in bringing together people around ping pong tables. If you are interested in hearing ways in which Ping! London can help you start your own ping pong community, then contact Alice Robinson, Participation Programmes Officer at Table Tennis England.
London holds some great opportunities for physical activity and sport outdoors and table tennis is just one of them. If you want to find about others, head to the London National Park City Fair on 21 July, or simply get involved in one of the nearly 300 events organised during the London National Park City Week.