Ping Pong Parlour up for a Purple Apple!

Julie Snowdon

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The Castle Mall Ping Pong Parlour in Norwich is up for a prestigious shopping centre industry award.  Considered the BAFTA’s of the industry, The Purple Apples are the only awards which recognise and reward effective shopping and town centre marketing within the UK retail property sector.  The Parlour has been short-listed in the ‘Cause Related Marketing’ category which recognises an innovative marketing activity/campaign created from a partnership between the centre and a strategically chosen not-for-profit organisation.

Chloe Keith, Group Account Director of the Toolbox Group told us:

Toolbox Group and Castle Mall are extremely pleased to have been shortlisted for a Purple Apple award… we find out on the 10th of May if we have been successful.  Our success so far is a combination of being proactive and making the right connections.  We’ve seen our Ping Pong Parlour as an opportunity to reach out to the local community, providing another reason to visit the shopping centre.  We are extremely lucky and thankful to the Norwich Table Tennis Club, without them this wouldn’t have been possible.

The Parlour has a full itinerary of events and special sessions; including monthly drop in sessions for people with dementia in collaboration with Dementia Friendly Norwich and Norwich Age UK; Bat & Chat sessions; Ping & Sing for Charity and Dino-Ping in the half-term school holidays.

Norwich Table Tennis Club have reported that the Parlour has raised awareness for their club, they’ve seen 10 new players visit as a result of playing in the Parlour and many more enquiries; individuals that the club wouldn’t have otherwise engaged with.

Stuart Laws from NTTC explained:

We have been able to raise money for charity, get club members involved in selling table tennis to the public, and given a chance to show what the club is about – a really friendly accessible club catering for everyone’s needs. It has also raised our profile with local council, who I have been contacting to help build a 24/7 table tennis centre

The Rise of Ping Pong Parlours

Castle Mall is just one of 15 free to play pop-ups utilising empty shop spaces all over England – from Preston in the North West, down to Horsham in Surrey; with a similar number of new Parlours due to open in the coming weeks.

The initiative forms part of Table Tennis England’s Mass Participation programme.  By placing tables in everyday spaces and removing the barriers that would otherwise prevent people from taking part; the game can be enjoyed by everyone.  The other initiatives within this programme include Ping! which places tables in popular outdoor spaces and Loop, which helps businesses and communities introduce and embed table tennis with complete playing packages.

Keely Armitt, Head of Mass at Table Tennis England says

The Ping Pong Parlour concept originated in some Ping! cities, but since being rolled out as an independent initiative has seen demand grown exponentially.  It’s a win-win scenario for all concerned; the shopping centres make excellent use of otherwise redundant space, see an increase in footfall and some great PR and the local community benefits from a free table tennis facility with all the social, well-being and health benefits that it brings!

For more information on Ping Pong Parlours and to find your nearest venue click here


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