The Dream Building Fund (DBF) is an annual grant which looks to offer support to change-makers who dream of making the world a better place through table tennis. Through the fund we aim to offer the right balance between guidance, support, and flexibility for the project leaders to turn their dreams into reality.
In the beginning the focus is on impact, and towards the grants’ end the focus is on sustainability and exit strategy. This process is defined together with project leaders from the offset and we now have a unique example of a project which reached its objectives and created an exit strategy, one year early even though it was – like all of us – impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DBF project Ping 4 Alzheimer’s has grown tremendously over the past year and a half. Starting off as a pilot project in the Levallois Table Tennis Sporting Club, the biggest club in France and one of the biggest in Europe. The club applied to the DBF thanks to the vision and motivation of project leader, Renato Walkowiak who shared his dream and solution to the problems faced by persons with Alzheimer’s disease.
The DBF project started in July 2019 with weekly sessions in the Levallois Sporting Club Table Tennis. Activities include:
- 2-hour weekly sessions, including balance exercises and adapted practises
- Training development of coaches and clubs
- Regular discussions with caregiver/caretakers
- Partnership with France Alzheimer’s
- Launch of coalition of clubs ready to get involved in such an initiative
Through dedication from the project leader and wonderful participants who enjoyed sessions and kept coming back, the project has grown tremendously.
The project is such a success it has been featured on more than 5 national medias in France, it has gained attention from the head of centre of cognitive neurology, partnership with 5 new clubs in France with France Alzheimer’s is underway, and they have developed an autonomous association dedicated to table tennis for Alzheimer’s programmes and helping clubs set them up.
“We want to offer weekly table tennis sessions to persons with Alzheimer’s disease to offer them a drug free, fun and social treatment that can help slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life. Not only that but we want to partner with France Alzheimer’s and combine our expertise to make it a national project accessible to all clubs interested.” Renato Walkowiak, Ping 4 Alzheimer Project Leader
We send a big congratulations to the Levallois Table Tennis Sporting Club, the project leader and all those involved in the project. We look forward to seeing this project gain autonomy and spread in France.
Indeed, this is what the DBF is all about, making dreams come true through table tennis in a sustainable way. We, the ITTF Foundation, will continue to support the Ping 4 Alzheimers project as planned for another year. The main aim, that was discussed from the outset, has nonetheless already been reached which calls for celebration.
Ensuring a quality exit strategy for a project is not something that can go unnoticed and it is what we strive for through the Dream Building programme. This is what the ITTF Foundation does to encourage an exit strategy for its projects:
- Think about sustainability from the outset
- Plan for exit early on
- Consult with partners and stakeholders regularly
- Ensure partners and stakeholders understand the importance of planning for the exit so they are empowered and do not develop dependence
- Communicate constantly about what is working as well as the challenges they face and join forces to look for opportunities
- Accept that it may not always work but give everything to make it happen
- Offer support in promoting their solution, connect the dots and in networking, offer support in identifying opportunities
- Listening, adapting and responding to their feedback and how the project is evolving
More information about the TT Dream Building Fund Project: HERE
More information about the new association Ping4Alzheimers: http://ping4alzheimer.com
Watch a video of the project: HERE