In Conversation with Brighton Table Tennis Club


Brighton Table Tennis Club is an institution in Brighton, running 70 sessions a week for over 1500 people to play table tennis across the city.

They bring together asylum seekers, homeless people, those who have recently left the criminal justice system, and young people from all walks of life, creating a vibrant and eclectic community across the city and beyond.

We’re proud to have supported Brighton Table Tennis Club on several different projects, including developing their AllStars app, which will bring the club’s values to people worldwide.

Here, we catch up with Tim Holtam, founder of the club, to learn more about their work and the impact of our partnership.

“Table tennis is for everyone. The club’s values are community, solidarity, respect, and competition. So it’s about community, but it’s also about winning.”

Tim tells us about Ryan, a 12-year-old boy from Brighton who otherwise wouldn’t have access to these opportunities due to the associated expenses.

“He’s number two in England for his age. And he’s currently in Hungary, competing in his first World Table Tennis Junior competition starting this morning. Unbelievable, right? While we have many beginners, we’ve also got a growing number of National and future Paralympic champions. It’s exciting.”

For Tim, the competition is important. He explains how he came to table tennis as a kid in London and that the coaches who trained him greatly impacted his life.

“I saw how table tennis can be used as a tool for bringing all these people together and giving young people experiences they wouldn’t have otherwise: travelling and going to competitions and playing abroad and all these opportunities that come with getting good at something.”

And they never give up. They’re constantly pushing themselves and each other to improve and grow together.

The club is expanding, too. They’re getting a second full-time venue in Moulescoomb, in addition to the renovated Catholic school in Kemptown, where they moved eight years ago.

Next door to their venue is the £1.5 million refurbishment of the Fitzherbert, which makes the space even more special.

“It’s a bit of a dream. I pinch myself when I enter the cafe, which has been so beautifully refurbished.”

The development of AllStars TT and the soon-to-be-released AllStars TT App, which Enjoolata Foundation has supported, is another way for Tim and his team to get the value of table tennis to more people.

Inspired by Parkrun, where you work towards milestone t-shirts, AllStars allows you to play anyone at any time on any table, anywhere in the world. So far, they’ve had over 1676 people play in more than 27,000 games of table tennis.

It’s free, and when you play 50, 100, 250, 500, 750, 1000, 1500, and 2000 matches, you unlock the right to buy an exclusive AllStars t-shirt.

Brighton Table Tennis Club has collaborated with some of Enjoolata’s other partners, many of whom they’ve met at our coffee mornings. “Those events are worth their weight in gold. It’s so useful to meet other projects doing different things with a similar ethos,” Tim tells us.

Brighton Table Tennis Club is next door to the Fitzherbert Community Hub, which houses the Real Junk Food Project, also our partners.

“They’re feeding 150 people a day, Monday to Friday. And it’s just the most interesting mix of people. And it’s brilliant because no one knows who’s homeless. No one knows who’s come from the office. It’s about solidarity. And it’s about integration.

“The Real Junk Food project has been amazing to work with. That’s one of the projects Enjoolata funded for us. In an after-school club in collaboration with Real Junk Food and the Fitz, where we provide food, they learn table tennis and how to cook. Then their families come in, and everyone sits down and enjoys a meal together.”

This collaboration has become a beacon for a flagship project for Sport England, which is looking to take the blueprint of the after-school club nationwide.

We couldn’t resist asking Tim why he loved working with us so much.

“Enjoolata are a brilliant funding partner because they always go above and beyond. They always keep in touch, come and visit, and I can tell they really care about what we’re doing. The best thing a funder can do to a project is go and see it, go and feel it, and experience it.

“So they’ve been very good at keeping in touch and bringing in a variety of their team here. And it’s helpful that everything’s local. The trips to the ice rink over the last two Christmases have been amazing; the generosity not just financially but the generosity of spirit from everyone involved is refreshing.”

Discover more about the brilliant work Tim and his team are doing here.

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