Wiff Waff is a free recreational monthly table tennis night, promoting integration between people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.
The concept behind it is very simple yet effective: friendship first, competition second. It aims to represent a sporting culture of unison and friendly competitiveness by ultimately bringing together communities.
The name Wiff Waff is often used as a nickname for table tennis or ping pong.
Due to the success of the event, Wiff Waff Wednesday was launched in 2012 attracting over 120 members on a monthly basis. The night combines table tennis and community cohesion into a social and relaxed atmosphere where the emphasis is placed on developing links between people (regardless of table tennis ability.)
Although Wiff Waff has become popular, particularly with the local community of Leith in Edinburgh, it continues to attract people from a variety of nationalities including French, Indian, German, Japanese, American and Bosnian. The event is held at the Drill Hall, an arts and studio space in Leith and is run by charity Out of the Blue.
The organisers behind Wiff Waff are fittingly referred to as Riff and Raff. Organiser and host of the table tennis night, Johnny (Riff), said: "There's not that many opportunities for young and old people to go out together and socialise. Table tennis is so enjoyable and such a leveller for people of all abilities.
"We have a group of guys with disabilities who first started to come about six months ago. No matter if you've got a wheelchair, you're just part of the community. It's really good integration and the guys really respond to it because they're not being singled out due to their disabilities, they're being included for their interests. That is something I personally feel quite proud about."
He added: "That's what table tennis is about - creating the links between different people so they know each other and can say hi to each other on the street. It's about enjoying the game as opposed to being desperate to win. Table tennis is brilliant for that."
After successfully securing Commonwealth Games funding, Wiff Waff is encouraging enthusiasm for table tennis in the run up to Glasgow 2014 by introducing the 'United Nations of Wiff Waff.'
The eight month project will coincide with the build up to the Commonwealth Games and expand Wiff Waff activities to include a weekly junior wiff waff event on Friday afternoons for teenagers. This will enable up to 20 young people to receive table tennis coaching, with potential opportunities to enter local competitions. The Commonwealth enthusiasm will culminate in Wiff Waff hosting their very own opening night ceremony.
Despite the simplistic ethos of Wiff Waff in engaging with the community, it still remains a unique Scottish initiative with visitors from various countries asking to introduce the concept into their own local communities.
There was something very uplifting about Wiff Waff when I first heard about it. Table tennis has a chance to shine throughout the evening but the main focus will always be on enjoyment and meeting new people. The distinct and accessible nature of table tennis was reinforced as people unite to play the sport without the fear of being too incompetent to play. There is a certain charm to the light-heartedness and positivity promoted by Wiff Waff in embodying the true camaraderie of table tennis.
The next Wiff Waff Wednesday will be held on July 2 at the Drill Hall in Leith and is open to everyone.
The Wiff Waff Exhibition Opening Ceremony will coincide with the Commonwealth Games opening on July 23. Further information can be found here.