Social impact and participation served up through Ping!

By Sported |  21 March 2024

A collaboration between Table Tennis England (TTE) and Sported sparked Ping! Birmingham, a dynamic initiative aimed uniting communities through table tennis. 

With a clear vision to engage, empower, and enrich the lives of Birmingham residents, Ping! drove change by establishing hubs and spokes, creating vibrant centres of activity and connection.  

Let’s reflect on the remarkable journey Ping! has undertaken and celebrate its impact on the local community – through a strategic partnership between a national governing body, Sported and those in the field.


The journey began with the selection of three key hubs across Birmingham and Solihull. The first hub, Pitch2Progress, emerged as a beacon of transformation. From reclaiming derelict spaces to nurturing a vibrant community hub, the group significantly grew its reach and impact as a consequence of the programme.  

With dedicated support and guidance from Sported, P2P secured funding, refurbished their facility, and held an expanded series of summer table tennis initiatives for young people. From bustling tournaments to dedicated sessions for girls and boys, its success rippled outwards, igniting sparks in four spokes across the city. From Saltley Women’s FC to the Green Lane Mosque, Ping! became a catalyst for connection and empowerment.  

There were initial challenges and barriers, including funding constraints and logistical hurdles. However each spoke was able to design solutions that allowed them to welcome players of all ages and backgrounds. 

Further hubs were created at Saheli, a charity set up 21 years ago to support their local community, as well as at Cars Area Together – a partnership based in Chelmsley Wood, North Solihull where a variety of impactful activities outside and inside Auckland Hall are delivered into the local community. 


All three hubs raised the levels of inclusion, taking table tennis into communities that previously would never have been considered natural gateways to the sport.  

In doing so, they united people in a way that would have been impossible before, as shown by Obayed Hussain, Group Leader at Pitch2Progress. 

He said: “Ping! has proven to be a huge success for us, we knew we would have some interest, but it has far outweighed our expectations and been great for us to introduce a new sport and see it flourish. 

“We want to say thank you to Sported and Table Tennis England for giving us and our community the opportunity and we know it will form part of our long-term sustainability in the future.” 

The impact of Ping! transcended the numbers, yet the statistics speak volumes. Across the hubs and spokes, around 265 young people now participate in sessions each week.  

The diversity within the player base reflects Birmingham’s full social tapestry, with participants hailing from various ethnicities, ages, and locations. Ping! not only introduced a new sport but also fostered inclusivity and belonging in neighbourhoods, each of which faces its own socio-economic challenges. 


As Ping! looks towards the future, the journey is far from over.  

While celebrating successes, the project also acknowledges valuable lessons learned. From the importance of patience in community engagement to the necessity of adequate funding, Ping! has navigated challenges with resilience and adaptability.  

The partnership between Sported and TTE however has blossomed into a force for positive change, offering a blueprint for future collaborations in community-based initiatives where national governing bodies are able to leverage their sport to grow participation and social impact in tandem. 

Sported’s West Midlands Regional Manager, Sophie Tobin, highlighted the impact the project had on the city as a whole. 

She said: “One of the main things around the project is that it coincided with Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games.  

“The work we have carried out will stand as legacy for both Table Tennis England, and the Games as a whole.” 

From humble beginnings to thriving hubs, Ping! has enriched lives, forged connections, and is leaving an indelible mark on the Birmingham sporting landscape.  

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