Members of a successful Northumberland community gymnastics club are doing somersaults after winning a four-figure equipment grant from a regional employer.
The Dynamic Gymnastics Foundation is a registered charity that supports Northern Gymnastics Club at the Hubbway Business Centre in Cramlington.
The Club currently has over 450 members aged between three and 18 years old from across the area, and another 1,000 local children and young people on its waiting list to join.
The Club is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, and is planning to move into new, bigger premises in the town within a year.
As part of preparations for the move, the Foundation is looking for support from local businesses and organisations to contribute towards increasing the range of equipment that it can offer, so that it can provide participation opportunities for the maximum number of young gymnasts.
And after it applied to the Banks Group for support, a £5,000 grant from the Banks Community Fund has enabled it to bring in a range of new safety mats, landing mats and foam blocks which provide gymnasts with safe equipment set ups to learn and perform their moves on and above.
Run by a team of eight qualified coaches, with a further three coaches set to come on board in the near future, Northern Gymnastics Club was set up in 2007 by head coach Gemma Wilkinson and has helped more than 3,000 local youngsters get into gymnastics over the last decade.
As well as providing tuition in artistic gymnastics – on the floor, beam, vault and bars – and acrobatic gymnastics disciplines, it also offers children with disabilities opportunities to take part in the sport, and has a competition academy which has seen gymnasts competing successfully in regional and national events.
Les Hodgson, chairman of The Dynamic Gymnastics Foundation, says: “Our focus is firmly upon maximising participation in order to help get as many local children and young people as we can active through gymnastics, develop new skills and build their confidence, and we’ve been very successful in achieving this goal over the last decade.
“Moving to a bigger facility will give us the chance of substantially reducing our waiting lists and greatly increase the number of participation opportunities we’re able to offer, but to do this, we need to provide a lot more expensive equipment, and we are very thankful to the companies, local businesses and charitable trusts that have already helped us begin to achieve a goal that would otherwise be out of reach of the club on its own.
“Some of the equipment that The Banks Group’s generous grant has enabled us to buy is being used to raise the landing area around our high beams, which makes it far easier and safer for our young gymnasts to learn and practice their moves on what is a very difficult piece of apparatus.
“The new equipment is also accessible to all gymnasts in the club and is already proving to be very popular with them.
“We’re at an exciting point in the club’s development, and the health benefits that will result from more youngsters being physically active will be felt by our gymnasts and the wider community for many years to come.
“We are also grateful to those providing the substantial voluntary input the club needs to operate, including coaching, administration, fund raising and welfare of club members. ”
Jeannie Kielty, Community Relations Manager at the Banks Group, adds: “The energy and dedication of the Dynamic Gymnastics Foundation team has a tremendous impact on many hundreds of local families, and their ambition to open up even more participation opportunities is more than worthy of our support.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.
Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.