The Brighton Table Tennis Club is a dynamic and inclusive club that offers a range of different classes. The BTTC started with one club a week for children, and has grown and grown over the years. Today, it runs a wide range of inclusive sessions. Alongside their open sessions and children’s sessions, the BTTC holds sessions for females only, people over 50, adults with learning difficulties, and people with downs syndrome. Harry, one of the founding members of the BTTC, said “We wanted to use tennis to bring people together”.
“We have created a space where people can make unusual and unlikely friendships” – Harry, Trustee
The club creates space and sessions for new and emerging groups of vulnerable people in the community, and has made effort to reach out to the refugees that have been housed in the city. The BTTC was the first sports club in the UK to be awarded ‘Club of Sanctuary’ status, due to its work with 15 refugee minors from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan and Vietnam.
Volunteer Jeff praised the club for the positive effect it has had on his and his son Harry’s lives. Harry, who has downs syndrome, has been encouraged by the club to pursue his dream of becoming the ‘number 1 downs syndrome player in the world’. Jeff said the club has “created a new world for [Harry]” and has been great for his social life and self-esteem, in that he has become a “valued member of a very nice community”.
The BTTC doesn’t have chilled storage facilities, so cannot currently offer a meal or cooked service. Instead, FareShare Sussex provides them with food that can be stored at room temperature, such as dried pasta, tins and biscuits. This is then given out to centre-goers. The food can go towards a family’s weekly shop and act as an added perk or reimbursement for those people that don’t have a lot and still want to come and enjoy the club.
For more information on the BTTC and their programme of activities please visit their Facebook page.