Sherburn Community Gymnastics Club

In February of this year we were approached by Sherburn Community Gymnastics Club (SCGC) with a request to support their efforts in respect of the fledgling club. We decided to provide the money needed to obtain a vaulting box and were pleased to attend the official opening by Nile Wilson and hand over a cheque for £395

Nile Wilson peforms the official opening ceremony

Elmet Lions David Jones and Steve Cooper present the cheque for £395, with Nile Wilson looking on

You can read more about the gymnastics club by clicking on the More link below

SCGC Ltd emerged into the community following a ‘head hunt’ meeting with the Regional Development Officer from British Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body (NGB). At that time, the demand for gymnastics was so great that the NGB felt it was necessary to identify a person known within the gymnastics community with possibility to set up a gymnastics club. Following both Amanda’s daughters fulfilling a successful gymnastics career, Amanda was approached and six months later, a gymnastics club arrived on the gymnastics circuit! In September 2007, SCGC started out with one qualified coach, Amanda herself, with 50 children coming through the door. Since then, Amanda has trained both of her daughters to become coaches, level 2 and level 1 across 2 gymnastics disciplines; one parent to become a level 2 Women’s artistic coach; a parent to become a level 1 general coach alongside being our Lead Welfare Officer (who had to undergo separate training both in theory and practically); a parent to become a level 1 Women’s artistic coach; three parents to become award’s coaches (the qualification prior to level 1) and three older gymnasts to become award’s coaches. The reason behind this sheer growth of qualified adults associated with the club is due to the growing demand from the local community and surrounding areas.

In response to the sheer volume of demand from children, families and young adults in our community, we have increased the number of classes that we teach, over a range of disciplines. This doubled our time within the gymnasium but, as you can imagine, this only touched the surface of our waiting lists; thus forcing further conversations about extending the classes further, creating more opportunities for more of the community to access gymnastics.

Over the years, as expected, we have monitored the types of classes that are required so we are offering services that reflect the community’s demand. At first, the demand was predominantly for school aged children but with the new housing developments around the area, specifically those with help-to-buy schemes attached to them, we have noticed a great deal more requests for young children to attend; those as young as 12-18 months. With that in mind, two of our coaches took it upon themselves to complete a level 1 pre-school course; to enable us to run classes catered for children aged 2-4, and to complete Fun4Baby course; to enable us to run classes catered for babies and toddlers from 6 weeks old to confidently walking. This decision was made as a gut reaction to reflect what the community wanted. As you can probably imagine, these classes have gone down an absolute storm!

In addition to the younger gymnasts that we cater for, we are also ensuring that we meet the needs of our older gymnasts too! As anticipated, and as with most sports, there is a trend of drop outs from the age of 13; hence the need to push the participation rates for this age group by creating something tailored specifically for them. To be in line with the NGB’s initiatives, we currently follow the ‘I am BG’ and ‘BG Academy’ initiatives that focus on roles other than being a performer, including: coaching, judging, fundraising, administration, website management and project management. This in itself has been a huge success, showing statistics that 4 in every 5 older gymnasts have remained within the club, even if it is not to participate or perform as a gymnast. In addition to us benefiting from an older gymnast remaining from the club, we feel that the skills crated and harnessed through these initiatives will provide them with a secure foundation of personal and interpersonal skills for when they embark on future employment and inevitably, the workplace. To a sixteen year old, a ‘job’ and ‘employment’ is like swearing – they really don’t want to hear it; however, with our older gymnasts, their attitude has changed from unsure to a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude. One could only assume that that this gain in confidence and positivity has only come from been given the opportunity to try – to try something new; to try something that may fail; to try something that may actually pay off! Luckily for us, our gymnasts are developing the growth mindset to want to try something different in the hope of achievement.

Internally, due to the increased demand for competition and competitive situations, we have been able to organise an intra-club competition where all gymnasts are marked based on their own abilities and targets, rather than a set code of conduct stated by an external organisation. We firmly  believe in an inclusive approach to our club so we are constantly thinking about how we can gain confidence, self-esteem and self-worth for every one of our gymnasts, rather than how many medals we are able to bring home. Granted, in some of our prospective classes, this is what our gymnasts will want; thus our mindset will change temporarily; however, our main ethos and philosophy resides whole-heartedly with the wellbeing of our gymnasts.

Outside of our community, we have made relationships with clubs up and down the country through regional, national and international festivals, competitions and events. With these links, we have participated in local festival and competitions with other clubs; regional festivals such as ‘GymFusion’, another BG initiative; national competitions with club where we have a strong links, including out of region and international festivals in both Switzerland and Finland. SCGC Ltd is very lucky in being well known within the gymnastics community; thus being able to create more opportunities for our community.

Since the outset, SCGC Ltd has delivered their sessions from two high schools; Sherburn High School and Barlby High School. At the time, these facilities were absolutely perfect in reflecting the demand of the community and the needs of our gymnasts. Over time, even with the additional classes, we have found that this is still not coping with the increased demand; hence why we have looked to move to a permanent facility.

I am very pleased to announce that SGCC Ltd has signed a lease on an industrial unit in the Blackburn Industrial Unit in Sherburn in Elmet, on a long term lease. This means that we have the ability to create a sustainable service for the children, young people and adults of our community! This move has meant that we are able to increase the number of classes dramatically whilst enrolling more children into different disciplines. We are absolutely thrilled to be granted with this opportunity!

As the cliché states, the industrial unit is ‘a blank canvas’, enabling us to mould the facility to our own, adapting it to what our community wants. Yes, we have the gymnastics qualifications to take the gymnasts wherever they want to go but it is now our responsibility to ensure that we can take them there with the equipment and resources that we have. In an ideal situation, I would wave a magic wand and a brand new, sparkling designated gymnastics facility would be waiting for me but unfortunately, we don’t live in a fairy tale!

One of the main reasons why we feel that this is the right time to move to our new facility is to ensure that we keep providing the opportunities for our gymnasts; ranging from our babies, all the way to our adult gymnasts. Through moving facilities, it means that our gymnasts are able to access additional equipment to progress their skills further. Although our previous facility was adequate, we feel that the new premises are the right thing for our club, our gymnasts and our community. The opportunities of new equipment, as highlighted below, are just some things that we feel are necessary in our mission to turn the industrial unit into a dedicated gymnastics facility for community to progress within.

With the opening weekend looming and the prospect of many more external competitions, which will require additional specialist equipment, we are hoping that you will be able to aid us financially to purchase such equipment, ensuring that any participant has a comfortable landing. The key ingredient of the sprung floor is the springs! Underneath the matted area, the thick springs allows

Firstly, a sprung floor; a piece of equipment that is Olympic standard, will be used by every single gymnast that walks through the doors. The 12m x 12m floor area is a soft, floor area with cushioned material layering matted area, enabling a participant to gain height for jumps, leaps, aerial or tumbling skills. This piece of equipment is absolutely vital to ensure skill progression whilst ensuring that the gymnasts are at their optimal safety whilst practising and performing such tricks. With all this in mind, we hope that you can see why this piece of equipment is high on our agenda. AS you can imagine, this specialist equipment comes with a specialist price tag. From the leading gymnastics equipment provider, a sprung floor is approximately £20,000 including fixtures and fittings. We understand that this is an amount way above any charity or community group’s budget; hence why we have created an initiative in an attempt to raise the funds without crippling any organisation. We are selling each 0.25m x 0.25m square for £25.00. The £25.00 will be put towards the overall fund of money paying for the floor. As a thank you for providing us with this money, we will recognise your contribution through displaying your logo on a display board that outlines this initiative as a ‘thank you’. Many companies within the community have already contributed towards this initiative, sometimes buying more than one square.

On the other hand, linking again to our prospective external competitions, we are hoping to purchase a vaulting box; again, a clone of the vaulting tables that are used during international competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships. This vaulting table will be used by gymnasts of a height where the table will be useful (approximately 6 and above) to prepare them for such vaults. Yes, this table is required for competitions but we feel that this table can be used across the disciplines to aid skill progression in general gymnastics to a platform in freestyle gymnastics – the possibilities are endless. Looking again at the leading equipment provider, a vaulting box top is approximately £395. If you are in a position where you feel this would be the better purchase to support us, we would be very happy to emblaze your logo on the piece of equipment as recognition of you helping us.

As you can see from the evidence presented above, we are a thriving gymnastics club that do what we do for the wellbeing of our community; to develop children’s, young people’s and adult’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing whilst dealing with the ongoing issues linked with obesity whilst encouraging lifelong participation of any physical activity within the community.