Funding Boost : NAVT
North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club is celebrating a major funding boost they hope will see the sport’s popularity soar across the region.
The group will receive almost £30,000 over the next three years after securing money from North Ayrshire Ventures Trust (NAVT).
This grant programme was developed to enable voluntary, community and
social enterprises in North Ayrshire to explore new opportunities to help them grow in size and improve long-term sustainability.
And the table tennis club are sure this investment will help them smash into parts of North Ayrshire they have yet to reach.
The group’s organiser Billy Main said: “We’ve been running for 15 years now and it’s turned into a bit of a monster. It’s just grown and grown and this funding from NAVT will really help us become sustainable and help us achieve what we want to achieve.
“We started up in a small hut with one table and basically wanted to get as many people as possible into the sport.
“We moved to St Matthews, with 16 tables, and now there are clubs in Arran and West Kilbride which are all under the auspices of North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club. When the Portal opened we ran sessions there and due to the popularity, Irvine Table Tennis Club was set up and now it is a fully constituted club in its own right.
“But we haven’t really touched Largs, Garnock Valley and other areas, so we want to get into all the areas in North Ayrshire and grow the game. We’ve had funding previously from Sportscotland and recently acquired 20 tables which will enable us to get the sport into schools, community centres and other centres in North Ayrshire. There is a real appetite for the game and we now have an opportunity to grow it.
“This money will allow us to put together a three-year plan. We hope to appoint a development officer and increase our coaching team to meet the challenge ahead.
“Ideally we’d like lots of different franchise clubs – all linked to North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club – across the region.”
The group has produced a number of Scottish Champions – including Billy’s sons Chris and Richard – and have won the Scottish National League five years out of the last eight years, and are the current Scottish Champions.
They have been competing in the British Premier League for the past two years and hopefully will have a place again this season in the top league in the UK where the top eight clubs in the country compete on a home and away basis.
The highlight was when they staged the European Cup at St Matthew’s two years ago.
Billy added: “We’ve had some great times and have worked closely with the Council. They have provided plenty of support. We are now really grateful for this North Ayrshire Ventures Trust funding. It will really help us move forward with our long-term plans.”
Richard Yule, Table Tennis Scotland`s Chief Operating Officer, welcomed this significant investment from NAVT. “The North Ayrshire Club is a brilliant example of how table tennis can be a force for good in a local community, providing opportunities for all ages and abilities to interact, get active and enjoy our great sport. Congratulations to Billy Main, his sons, Chris and Richard, and his superb team of volunteers who continue to drive the club onwards and upwards!”
Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Communities, added: “North Ayrshire Ventures Trust has supported many local groups and organisations and we’re delighted that North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club has benefited from funding.
“They have some really bold and ambitious plans and we’re delighted to be supporting them as they move forward. Sport and being active is hugely important to us. It’s great to see that the club are engaging with people from all ages and backgrounds and growing the sport in North Ayrshire.”
If you would like to apply for NAVT funding, please email firstname.lastname@example.org