Travelling ping pong tables spring up across Sunderland

PING: Cllr Speding, front left joins Chris Blake, front right and other Gentoo staff to enjoy the Travelling Ping Pong programme at Gentoo headquarters in Doxford International Business Park.

PING: Cllr Speding, front left joins Chris Blake, front right and other Gentoo staff to enjoy the Travelling Ping Pong programme at Gentoo headquarters in Doxford International Business Park.

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FORGET the cup of coffee, employees across Wearside can now enjoy a work break with a difference – playing ping pong.

The Travelling Ping Pong programme will make its way across Wearside giving people the opportunity to show off their skills or try the sport for the first time.

The free scheme, run by Sunderland City Council, will put tables and bats in workplaces, schools and youth clubs and will also offer the chance for some coaching.

Housing group Gentoo was the first to try out the programme with tables being installed for three weeks at its headquarters in Doxford Park.

Chris Blake, Gentoo business improvement manager, who plays table tennis in the British League, said: “I think the programme is a terrific idea and I’m delighted that staff at Gentoo have had the opportunity to take part.

“They have certainly enjoyed having a fun sporting activity available at work which they can play at their own level.

“The banter among everyone who took part has been great and it is a good morale booster for everyone in the team.”

Councillor Mel Speding, Cabinet Secretary for Sunderland City Council, said: “Table tennis is probably not what you would class as a mainsteam sport and as a result there are less opportunities to enjoy it compared to sports like football and swimming.

“However, that’s not to say it isn’t just as enjoyable and that is why we are delighted that the Travelling Ping Pong programme is going to bring the sport to new audiences across the city.

“The programme fits in perfectly with the Sunderland in 2012 programme, which is all about giving people opportunities to take part in sporting and cultural activities in the run-up to the Olympics.”

The scheme will be running at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre from March 5-22.

If you want to get table tennis going in your work place, school or youth club then register your interest by calling 561 4659.

To see where Travelling Ping Pong is going next visit the website www.sunderlandin2012.co.uk.

Twitter: @tomwhite7