Table tennis has provided a safety net for at least 17 children from Lavender Hill all the way to Bergvliet; keeping them away from the social ills they may encounter in their communities. But funding has presented a challenge, placing the boys from Lavender Hill in a hole to the tune of about R3 000 indebted to Cape Town Table Tennis (CTTT), who they represented at the South African championship in Oudtshoorn last week.Reese Williams, Siriano Gordon and Chadley Timmie are all from Vipers Table Tennis Club.The club was opened at the beginning of this year, on 1 January, by Ashley Wesson, which he runs from the table tennis facility at Bergvliet High School where he is a teacher. There are currently 17 learners in the club.“For me, it’s about keeping the kids off the road,” he said.Reese, Siriano and Chadley were three of the boys who were chosen to represent CTTT at the championships in the u.15 team from Sunday 22 September to Saturday 28 September.“The boys are all playing in the u.15 team together with a boy from Bishop Lavis. They are all doing well – Cape Town is actually one of the strongest districts you get. They always end up in the finals, always picking up all the gold medals.” While CTTT made provisions for the boys to head out to Oudtshoorn to play in the championship, they are still required to pay back what was spent on them for accommodation and travel.Ashley was able to raise some money for the payment, but still needs more than R2 500 to pay off the boys’ debt by Sunday 6 October, or else they will lose their good standing with the association and be unable to compete in upcoming tournaments.With 40 to 50 clubs participating in various league groups in Cape Town, the sport is growing rapidly, and the boys would like the opportunity to keep playing at a competitive level.Keeping the children in the club and out of harm’s way became an even higher priority for Ashley after the club’s 6-year-old Natalia Pienaar was caught in the crossfire of a senseless shooting and killed late in August. V To help support the Vipers Table Tennis Club call 071 916 3283.