Global paints and coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel has helped to revitalise a North East gymnastics centre.

The AkzoNobel Ashington plant, whose products include household brands such as Dulux and Polycell, donated 200 litres of paint to Gymtopia to help transform its new facility on the Brunswick Industrial Estate in Newcastle.

Founded in 2014 as a not-for-profit organisation, Gymtopia provides recreational and competitive-level gymnastics training for children aged four to 15.

From humble beginnings Gymtopia now has 200 children attending weekly classes at its rented facility in Kenton. With a further 400 children on the waiting list, Gymtopia felt the time was right to invest in its own premises to help meet demand.

“It has taken us a long time to source premises of a scale and at a price that would secure our long-term economic sustainability,” said founder of Gymtopia, Felicity Brown. “As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on donations as well as the subs paid by the children who attend our classes to help pay for tutoring, equipment and renovations.

“With exposed bricks and lots of metalwork, the facility resembled an old-fashioned warehouse when we first picked up the keys, but we always had a vision of creating an environment that would inspire children. We asked the children to put the word out to their parents to help find sponsorship for our new facility and someone suggested writing to AkzoNobel about paint.  We were thrilled by the company’s response and the rest is history!” explained Felicity.

AkzoNobel is dedicated to helping bring colour into people’s lives through the creation of beautiful spaces. Having built the world’s most sustainable paint factory in Ashington, the company is on a mission to give back to the communities it serves and, alongside its sister site in Felling, has supported a number of projects across the North East.

“As well as being known for our great products, we want to make the AkzoNobel brand synonymous with inspiring and enabling beautiful spaces,” said Jeff Hope, head of manufacturing unit at AkzoNobel Ashington.

“We believe passionately about giving back to the local community so we were excited by Gymtopia’s request for paint. It’s a great example of our Human Cities initiative and the revamped space looks incredible; we hope that it will go a long way towards promoting health and wellbeing and encouraging more young people into sport.”

With the building now a vibrant orange, the club’s colour, Gymtopia hopes the new facility will help to attract even more new members and encourage young people to take up gymnastics.

“Once we have settled in properly, we hope that more young people will join Gymtopia,” Felicity said. “The bright colours have created a really friendly and happy environment for the children and the staff to enjoy. We can’t thank AkzoNobel enough!”

The AkzoNobel site in Felling recently announced a new €12.6 million (approx. £10.8 million) research and innovation hub to be built at the site to house more than 100 of the coatings industry’s leading scientists. To find out more about this, or any other AkzoNobel story, please visit: