St.James' Park - Table Tennis Table

Updated: 17th December 2016

Anyone for (Table) Tennis...?

It was a long wait, but we finally have an outdoor Table Tennis table in St.James' Park!.

As part of the Restoration & Improvements project which started in 2010, FoSJP had hoped that an outdoor Table Tennis table would be one of the features in the new Games Area. Space was set aside for it, but because of increased costs during the improvements, the table itself had to be dropped from the development.

The Campaign

However, we didn't give up! The main drive to provide a Table Tennis table came from local children and also from a more senior FoSJP member, Brenda Bennett‎. Fundraising started in July 2011 when the young people volunteering at the Play in the Park! event, which was to celebrate the Park's re‑opening, raised money via a tombola, asking specifically that the money would go towards the Table Tennis table.

Brenda Bennett Don Smith
(Photos courtesy of Michaela Lawler‑Levene)

This was followed up at The BIG Event, held in July 2012 to celebrate the first anniversary of the Park's re‑opening, at which volunteers from the FoSJP History Research Group organised a raffle to raise funds.

We're particularly grateful to Don Smith, then in his mid‑80s, who volunteered to source prizes for the raffle - handwriting letters, following up by telephone, and telling organisations about FoSJP's work - and to Michaela Lawler‑Levene, who promoted the raffle and organised ticket printing and sales.

The raffle raised over £1000 - an excellent result considering how poor the weather was for this event - which the FoSJP Committee agreed should go towards the Table Tennis table fund.

The Result

FoSJP worked with Southampton City Council and agreed to fund a slightly more expensive table that was originally planned, one that was better suited for use in a public park. The original plan was for the FoSJP Gardening Team to help the council with the footings for the table in order to reduce costs, but in the end the council went ahead and completed the installation themselves.

During initial discussions, we were concerned that the grassed area around the table would become a muddy pit, so it was decided to assess suitability of the new surface to be laid. Following completion of this work, it was deemed suitable for the table surround and was duly incorporated, again funded by the council. The finished result is impressive and we must thank the council for enabling such an asset to our Park.

FoSJP would like to thank everyone for their contributions to this outcome - Southampton City Council, local businesses and other organisations, volunteers, and everyone who attended events and bought raffle tickets. It's an excellent example of working in partnership with the community!

2011 - "We want a Table Tennis table...!"
(Photos courtesy of Nichola Caveney)
2016 - Construction starts
(Photos courtesy of Nigel Fayle)
2016 - FoSJP and friends try out the new table
(Photos courtesy of Nigel Fayle)

Site location: Park > The Table Tennis Table