There will be a double celebration for the Falmouth Docks Table Tennis Club this year as it notches up its 65th birthday and finally gets a permanent home of its own thanks to the Dracaena Centre and grant funding.
Work has already started on transforming the existing sports hall at the community centre off Dracaena Avenue and a new extension into the basketball court will follow, with the work expected to be completed by early summer.
The project is seen as an exciting development for both the Dracaena Centre and the table tennis club and has been made possible thanks to a grant of almost £120,000 from the English Table Tennis Association.
Until now, the DTTC has used the facilities at the Dracaena Centre, at Penryn College and various church halls, but from this summer will have its own dedicated base. “This will give us a proper home,” said Ian McLeod, the club’s treasurer.
“This is an exciting time for Falmouth Docks TCC and table tennis throughout the West Cornwall area with the potential to support and help develop new, junior and established players at a dedicated table tennis centre which will not only provide accessible coaching but a competitive and social aspect to the sport.”
The new facilities will provide space for up to three tables and will also include a small kitchen, office and storage area. The improvements to the existing sports hall include new heating, lighting and insulation along with a new, competition level sports floor. There will be a glass wall between the extension and the sports hall to create a viewing area.
As well as the obvious benefits to the table tennis club, the new facilities will enable the Dracaena Centre to expand what it offers and fulfil two of the aspirations on its original wish list.
Centre manager, Richard May, said: “We had a three phase project we always wanted to achieve, but needed funding to do. The first was to upgrade the sports hall, which the Dracaena Centre was built around; phase two was to build an extension on the side to allow more health and well-being classes and phase three is a community gym which could be open 24/7.
“With this fantastic support and good news from the table tennis club, phases one and two will be completed by the early summer. When the club is not in residence, we will use the new facilities to broaden the depth of the classes we do, to include first aid, pilates and yoga. It will become a multi-function space.”
Chris Smith, a trustee of the centre, added: “Five years ago we opened the doors of a brand new building and a brand-new venture for Falmouth not knowing where the future lay or whether the confidence that the funders showed us at that time would be repaid in results.
“Thanks to all the people who work so hard at the centre, the results have exceeded all our expectations and it is time for phase two, the modernisation of the original sports hall and the construction of extra space to meet growing demand.”
The Falmouth Docks Table Tennis Club was formed in 1949 and currently has around 100 members aged from nine to almost 80. It currently supports 15 teams in the West Cornwall League.
In addition to the funding from the ETTA, the club is supported by the Cornwall Sports Partnership.