Team GB table tennis player joins Wolverhampton community celebrations
A SPORTING star grabbed her racket as she joined community festivities under the summer sunshine.
Table tennis player Karen Green flaunted her skills and battled against residents during celebrations in Wolverhampton's Bromford Rise.
Her special visit came as part of the first Mayor’s Community Weekend, which saw thousands across the Black Country unite with their neighbours.
Wolverhampton sportswoman Ms Green, who is set to represent Team GB in Abu Dhabi's Special Olympics World Games next year, said: "It was a fantastic day, and we definitely had the right weather for it.
"It was brilliant to meet new people and teach them table tennis."
Community spirit was booming when neighbourhoods came together for the inaugural county-wide event on June 30 and July 1.
Families from the Black Country joined more than 30 events funded by the National Lottery, thanks to a new partnership between the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Big Lottery Fund.
Residents from 117 flats in Bromford Rise enjoyed ‘Bromford’s Big Block Party’ after winning £500 of National Lottery funding.
More than 100 people joined the festivities which brought neighbours together who had never spoken to each other.
Bromford neighbourhood coach Jo Harris-Thomson, one of the event organisers, said: "It was lovely to see people talking who have maybe never spoken before, as well as showcasing the many talents people have here on Bromford Rise.
"We hope it will encourage people to do more together and make this a thriving community."
Other events included a street party in Dudley, basketball games in Sandwell and a fire station open day in Walsall.
About 7,000 people across the West Midlands joined events organised to re-kindle community spirit, as well as reduce loneliness and isolation.
More than 100 celebratory events took place across the West Midlands after being awarded a share of more than £55,000 of National Lottery funding.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “Community groups across the region have been fantastic in getting involved to make the first Mayor’s Community Weekend a real success.
"It was brilliant to get out and about to see such a variety of different events taking place right across the region, celebrating the great community spirit we have here in the West Midlands.
"Thank you to everybody who put on events, thank you to the Big Lottery Fund for their support and I hope to see more events like this happening in the future.”
The Big Lottery Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players to good causes, with £64 million handed out in the West Midlands In 2016/17.
Groups across the region were invited to apply for grants of up to £500 to bring people together during the Mayor's Community Weekend.
Eleanor Smith, MP for Wolverhampton South West, joined the celebrations in Bromford Rise.
She said: "The event was a great way to bring people together.
"I heard a story about someone who has lived here for six years and didn't know their neighbour, but got the chance to meet them.
"In today's society we can easily become isolated, not knowing who is living next door to us. It was a wonderful chance to get people talking."