Posted: Mon, 05 Sep 2016 14:47
Bournemouth has seen 30,000 people pick up a bat over the past three months and enjoy the sport of table tennis for free!
Datto Ping! exploded onto the streets of Bournemouth back in June. Active Dorset and Bournemouth Borough Council placed 23 outdoor table tennis tables in popular locations, such as Pier Approach and also in Bournemouth's parks and gardens.
Datto Ping! Bournemouth also teamed up with AFC Bournemouth, Bournemouth University and Altitude High Ropes to bring tables to their sites. Altitude manager Si Nicholson, said "the table has been used by all ages and has been a massive hit with our customers and passers-by alike!"
Fun games and competitions were held all over Bournemouth, with eight successful volunteer-run events in Ensbury Park, Kinson, West Howe, Winton and Boscombe. The West Howe community can continue to play, as one permanent table was donated to the Henry Brown Youth Centre where regular social sessions will be held.
Thanks to Sport England funding, the tables, bats and balls were provided free of charge, allowing communities such as those at Muscliff, to increase the number of people playing table tennis on a regular basis. They are now able to run social sessions for all ages on a Sunday evening.
It's not just Bournemouth residents who have enjoyed Ping! – holidaymaker George Wallace, who travels from the west coast of Scotland every year to Bournemouth, thought that the initiative "is a fantastic idea to allow people to meet and participate in sport". Mr Wallace also said that he had played people from all over the world, and despite not being able to speak the same language, Ping! was their language.
The Ping! Bournemouth website will soon feature a "Play On" function to help you find your nearest social session, pay and play leisure centre and free tables within parks.
As the Datto Ping! Festival concludes, some outdoor tables will remain around the town centre and in the parks, while others will be donated to organisations for the benefit of the community. Arts University Bournemouth are delighted with their new table. Karina Young from the Student's Union is excited by the new addition saying, "it is giving us the opportunity to bring a fun, fast and accessible recreational activity to campus."
Poole Dolphin Centre's new 'Ping Pong Parlour' uses an empty unit to create a social ping pong hub. With four tables, bat and balls available completely free of charge, the parlour will remain and is an excellent opportunity for Ping! players to 'Play On' has been a great addition to the town this summer and has attracted people from far and wide to enjoy the sport of table tennis. If you are interesting in finding your closest table or wish to continue playing please visit www.pingengland.co.uk/bournemouth for more information.