A unique free training program has been launched by Community Integrated Care to help people who access social care to enjoy table tennis. The charity has developed Care to Play with the aim of inspiring care workers and families to promote this accessible, adaptable and socially distanced sport.

Training program launched to help people who access social care to enjoy table tennis
EachStep Blackley Care Home taking part in Care to Play

They have been promoting table tennis in hundreds of its care and support services and found that the sport offers a uniquely inclusive, engaging and low-cost activity.

The Care to Play website provides a series fun and creative bitesize training videos, which in just 13 minutes give people who provide care and support the fundamentals of how to enable someone to enjoy the sport.

Over the past two years, the charity has piloted the use of table tennis in a range of settings – from delivering activity sessions in specialist dementia care homes and learning disability supported living services, through to utilising it in mental health talking therapies. Having enjoyed incredible outcomes in these pilot projects, it worked with Table Tennis England to support almost 200 care services to access table tennis starter packs during the early months  of the Coronavirus pandemic – helping to keep people physically and mentally stimulated during lockdown.

The video series distills many of the key things the charity has learned in promoting the sport. It not only teaches people the fundamental skills of how to play table tennis, but also looks at the many ways that the sport can be adapted and used to promote health, happiness and confidence.

The resource has been developed by Community Integrated Care’s internal specialists in person-centered support alongside professional athletes James and Teddy Chapelhow. The pair, who are Ambassadors for the charity and play for rugby league side Ottawa Aces, are life-long table tennis players.

“As a charity, we are committed to enabling the people we support to enjoy active and full lives,” John Hughes, Director of Partnership and Communities at Community Integrated Care, explains.

“Having seen the impact of promoting table tennis in a range of settings, when lockdown hit, we felt it would be an ideal activity to help deliver at scale – meaning that staying at home wasn’t a barrier to staying active.

“The website was designed to give people the confidence, skills and understanding to enable others enjoy table tennis as a person-centred activity. It has been created by people who have a brilliant insight into sport and social care. The videos are fun, practical and above all punchy – at just thirteen minutes long. I’d like to thank James and Teddy Chapelhow and the team at Community Integrated Care who contributed such brilliant ideas to this project. Special thanks must also go to Table Tennis England, for their amazing backing in helping us to introduce the sport across our charity.

“Having seen hundreds of our colleagues benefit from the www.CareToPlay.co.uk training resource, we hope that many more people across the social care sector and family carers can now benefit from it too.”

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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