Covid-19 playing update-July 2020

Message to members from the STTC Committee

Hello to all Stowmarket Table Tennis Club members and parents of our junior members. I hope this email finds you well and coping with life without our sport.
It’s been months since the club committee had to suspend play. Some of you will now be aware that our governing body, Table Tennis England (TTE) has given approval for some table tennis to resume from July 25th.  This is obviously good news for those of us who want to get back to playing.
As with everything else opening up, there are very strict guidelines imposed on us in order for venues to be safe. I’ll cover some of these further down. Firstly, it’s fairly certain that Stowupland Sports Centre will not reopen before schools start the new term in September. We are still waiting for final confirmation and will keep you informed if things change. That leaves our other venue, St Peter’s Hall Stowmarket. We are more optimistic about using St Peters and expect confirmation soon. 
To be clear, we will not be ready to reopen by 25th July. The club committee has met (on-line) to discuss TTE’s guidance, and what actions need to be taken for us to resume play. We will organise a ‘dummy run’ in order to work out the practicalities of running a session when we have access to the hall. Some of the restrictions include:
  • A non-playing person must supervise each session to ensure guidelines are followed.
  • Social distancing is required at venues: Only those actually playing are allowed in the hall.
  • Members must book a place to play.
  • Larger court areas are needed, so only three tables will be available at St Peters.
  • No doubles, only singles play.
  • Less changing of playing partners. At each change, players must clean their end of the table before moving on.
Assuming the committee thinks it’s possible to meet these safety conditions we intend to trial a Monday session open to six players between 10.30 – 11.30, then another six players from 11.30 – 12.30. The charge would be £2 per person per hour to cover hall rental costs. Assuming this works, we can consider operating the same system on Thursday afternoons and possibly try an evening if the hall is available.
Until things change, similar conditions would apply to the reopening of Stowupland on a Friday. We can fit in four tables which allows for eight players per hour. There will be no junior coaching before half term in October. However if the club is able to open with adequate supervision and we book the hall for three hours, we may be able to offer the first hour of play just for juniors if there is demand.
As you can see, there is a lot to organise so we would welcome some help as the committee members will not be able to do this on their own. We would therefore welcome some feedback from you all, letting us know: 
Would you be interested in starting to play?
Could you offer to supervise a session?
Can offer to set up or maintain a booking system?
I hope to see some of you playing soon.
Richard Stokes
Chairman STTC