Chelmsford Table Tennis Group
A table tennis league was set up to engage black men over the age of 50 in activity as there was a need for this community to become healthier and active. It was important for the community to have their say, and Table Tennis proved to be a popular choice, as many had grown up with this activity due to its low cost and social element.
The Over 50s Black Men Forum has developed as an organisation due to the success of this project. By listening to what participants wanted to take part in, they have seen an increase in resilience and sustainability, which is what they wanted to achieve from the project.
Participants have seen their level of fitness improve significantly. Sessions take place twice a week, and naturally this has grown competitive, in turn helping increase heart-rates among the group. Many friendships have been reformed as a result of the project, which has consequently had a really positive impact on the wider community.
Positively, with 2 former African National Champions in Chelmsford and Grays, they have inspired others to join and participate. Since inception other localities have observed the impact made by the project for the community, and have requested that the organisation branch out to Kent, Dagenham and Thamesmead. This has occurred through their YouTube channel and also when participants have visited others, increasing awareness through word of mouth.
Active Essex were able to support this project with funding for equipment, venue hire, publicity and also a part time activity coordinator. A positive relationship has been formed with this organisation and Active Essex are pleased to be able to help the Black Community living in Essex.
Other Active Partnerships, such as Active Sussex and the Central Active Partnerships team, have introduced Over 50's Black Mens Forums amongst themselves as an organisation that can help them reach the hard-to-reach older black demographic in their respective boroughs or county.