We’d like to say a big congratulations to our long-standing volunteer Hassan (below left), who has been nominated for an Inclusivity Award / Club and League Volunteer of the Year by Table Tennis England!
Hassan has been running table tennis sessions here at Abbey Community Centre for two years, having completed a coaching qualification with Table Tennis England. He has consistently been leading on our weekly Monday evening (6-8pm) sessions; helping to set up; run tournaments and help people of all ages and abilities build on their ping-pong skills and improve their physical health.
These sessions are part of our Neighbours2Friends programme, which aims to bring people together from two housing estates local to us in fun and inclusive activities. They are open to people of all ages, including children. Table tennis quickly became one of our most popular activities and we found that it’s a sport which brings people together like nothing else!
If we did not have Hassan on board, it would be very difficult to carry on running the sessions regularly, so it really is down to him that an average of 15 – 25 people in our local community are able to come together and enjoy table tennis every week in a safe and welcoming place.
Hassan also supports us to run community events, such as a table-tennis pop-up outside the local library, to help recruit more members to the club and to the community centre itself.
As well as being dedicated and reliable, Hassan is so well-loved at club due to his sunny disposition, patience (especially with first-time players) and ability to motivate the players and get everyone involved. He’s always joking about and it’s hard to be worried or sad when he’s around! Hassan says about his volunteering:
“I see a lot of positive energy going on here at the centre. A lot of people with problems in their lives come here and it’s like therapy for many of them. This comes from sharing skills and participation. Together we create that environment for people. We need things in society where people don’t worry about money, and to challenge the culture where everything’s about profit and privilege, which can exclude people.”
Hassan is passionate about inclusion and helping others – a real community gem. We think he deserves recognition for his time and dedication so are delighted he has been nominated for this Pride of Table Tennis award and been invited to their conference weekend at the end of March. Fingers crossed!
In the meantime, do come and join us on Mondays 6-8pm, or our new men-only session on Thursdays at 1pm, to practice your pingpong!