But why table tennis? Table tennis is one of the few sports in which size, sex and age are irrelevant competitive factors. It is a non-contact game that revolves around individual or team skill so is also practically risk free. Therefore can simultaneously be used students and older members of the local population, including those that may not be ‘sporty’ as well as those with mobility issues. Furthermore research suggests that when playing table tennis; hand eye coordination is improved and it stimulates mental alertness, concentration and tactical strategy; which makes table tennis the ideal activity for students to play in lunch time and breaks as well as older people that attend the project. An additional benefit of the tables is that once they are installed, they will need little upkeep, organization or supervision, therefore table tennis will always be available for students.
The school is looking to partner age concern Hampshire and create a club which will be open for all, with the concept people of any age, sex and size could come and play table tennis with each other at the school. The head teacher at Applemore Technology College, Roland Marsh, commented that the project “will have a very positive affect on local older peoples’ and students’ health and well-being.”
The ExxonMobil contribution was secured by Allan Pollock through their governor scheme, which rewards employees who dedicate a large amount of their personal time to voluntary governor positions by contributing to their educational facility. Allan, until his recent retirement, was both an ExxonMobil employee and Applemore College governor. His role at the school was to oversee their finance management; hold senior leaders to account for educational performance of the school and to guarantee clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. Since stepping down he has stressed the importance of ExxonMobil employees holding governor roles due to the mutual benefits, including but not limited to monetary gains through the governor scheme. He is now looking for another ExxonMobil worker to replace him on the full governing body (20 hour commitment per term) so that the school can continue to benefit from being situated near to a large petroleum corporation.