Support through Sport UK chats to the Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club ...
 
Hi there. How did Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club come about?
 
The club was formed in July 2012 as a result of a 'Have a Go' session at Bishop Barrington School (set up as part of the Olympic Legacy Funding Programme). At this session, the now head coach, Matthew Porter, turned up for a game. After a meeting with the school's Deputy Head, both Matthew and the school realised they had a shared vision of a community table tennis club - and thus the Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club (BATTC) was born.
 
Tell us about the development of the club ...
 
After a lot of hard work by Matt and his newly formed team, in October 2012 BATTC became an English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) Premier Club and it has since gained 'ETTA 4 Star Premier Club with Ability' status. This means that the club is affiliated to the national governing body of table tennis and meets their standards in terms of how a club is run and what it has to offer. The more stars a club has, the better the club is deemed to be - and the more opportunities it offers its members and the local community. BATTC is currently the only 4 Star Premier Club in Durham. BATTC is also Clubmark accredited - this is the Government’s quality assurance mark, which shows that the club is a safe, well-run club with all the necessary policies and qualifications in place. 
 
What sessions does BATTC currently have on offer?
 
BATTC now runs nine core sessions and five after school clubs - which is a long way away from the original one session a week just 15 months ago! These sessions include disability sessions and over 60s sessions. In addition, the club offers junior and senior coaching, social play, local league and high performance coaching at the Regional Development Squad.
 
In order to achieve all of the above, where did you source your funding from?
 
The above was made possible by funding from Sportivate, County Durham Foundation, Sport England, County Durham Sport and Durham County. The start of 2013 also saw the club sign a sponsorship deal with Tibhar - a German manufacturer who sponsor many world class players and clubs - and Bribar, their UK Agents. As part of this deal, BATTC developed its new green and black colour scheme, as displayed on BATTC's new, rather splendid home shirts.
 
How many coaches does BATTC currently have and how does it develop those coaches?
 
As of December 2013, the club boasts 11 UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC) qualified coaches. Part of the club's development plan is to assist these coaches to improve their skills and to encourage other volunteers / members to undertake training to become coaches, umpires etc. The club is also keen to be actively involved in offering training to members and volunteers in areas such as disability awareness coaching. The club recently ran a Young Officials Course in conjunction with Bishop Barrington School and Durham County Leisure - and it will also be hosting the North East Umpires Training Course.
 
Can you tell us a bit more about your work in the local community?
 
Yes. One of the club’s core values is to support the wider community and, as such, we have undertaken a number of charity events over the past year in aid of a number of charitable organisations. These have included:
 
  • The Christmas 2012 Shoes Boxes Appeal - which, as well as the usual goodies, included table tennis bats! This was in support of Operation Christmas Child.
  • One of our members undertook a charity firewalk for the Butterwick Hospice and raised over £200.
  • A 24-hour pingpongathon for local charity - the Butterwick Hospice. Members of the club played non-stop table tennis for 24 hours and  raised £750.

The club is always looking for organisations to support and ideas for charitable events ...

You work closely with schools. Tell us more ...

BATTC provides coaching at many of the local Secondary and Primary schools in the area. We have also both run and assisted at school sport week events, school open days and school intake days.

Working with Age UK Durham and Bishop Barrington School, BATTC also helped out at the Big Skills Share Day at the school to promote both the junior and over 60s offered at the club.

For the last 18 months, BATTC has worked with the School Sports Partnership to host and run the Level 1 and Level 2 Sainsbury’s School Games at the club's base at Bishop Barrington Sports Hall.
 
And tell us about the competitive side of the club ...
 
The club currently fields both a National Junior League Team and a National Cadet Team. The Junior League Team finished 7th in their first season in the North East League and will be aiming to finish higher this season. The Cadet Team made their debut this year.
 
Throughout the year, BATTC players have made trips to Grantham, Blackpool and Billingham, to name a few, to play in National Ranking Events. After slow starts, players are now reaching later stages of events and taking home trophies. As a consequence, many of the club's players are now nationally ranked.
 
In addition, BATTC has been instrumental in improving school table tennis within Durham. For example, the club assisted the Bishop Barrington School Team (made up of BATTC members) to reach the Semi Finals of the English School Association's Zonal Schools' Finals. The same team also won the Level 2 and Level 3 Sainsbury’s School Games in Durham. As a reward for the victory, a team of boys and a team of girls was selected to represent Durham in Hungary at an international table tennis competition. The boys finished second and the girls fourth. An outstanding result against strong international competition.
 
This is all fantastic. Are we right in thinking that you have also won a plethora of awards in recognition of your significant achievements?
 
Yes - which has been great!
 
And going forwards ...
 
BATTC want to continue to be a leading force in increasing participation in table tennis in County Durham. We welcome players and volunteers. Get in touch! We need you!
 
Club: Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club
Contact: Matt Porter; Mattporter1@live.com
Brief Description: Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club aims to be the most professional table tennis club in the country by promoting and encouraging the playing and enjoyment of table tennis for all ages, abilities and backgrounds, through high-quality, accessible participation, and development opportunities that positively change lives and enrich the community.