A successful Northumberland gymnastics club is on a roll thanks to a four-figure grant from North East renewable energy, property and minerals firm The Banks Group.
The Cramlington-based Northern Gymnastics Club CIC provides a range of fun and exciting recreational gymnastics classes from pre-school to competitive level and has around 450 members aged from four years old upwards.
The club has used a £5,000 grant from the Banks Community Fund to install a competition-standard 14m x 14m sprung floor in its 16,000 sq ft gym hall on the Northumberland Business Park West in order to provide local gymnasts with the best possible practice facilities.
Founded 15 years ago, Northern Gymnastics Club attracts members from right across Northumberland, as well as from Newcastle and North Tyneside and holds the Sport England Club Mark accreditation in recognition of being a safe, effective and child-friendly club.
Its recreational sessions enable children and young people to develop the core skills across all gymnastic disciplines, including artistic gymnastics, sports acrobatics and tumbling, rhythmic gymnastics and trampolining, and has a variety of equipment including balance beams, bars, vaults and tumbling tracks available to help them master new skills.
The club’s competitive teams regularly take part successfully in regional and national competitions against clubs from all over the country, while an eight-strong team also qualified for, and attended, the 2019 IAIGC World Gymnastics Championships, held in Nashville, Tennessee.
Training sessions are run by a team of 18 coaches, many of whom came up through the club as gymnasts and have achieved their coaching qualifications through its coaching academy.
Gemma Wilkinson, founder and head coach at Northern Gymnastics, says: “As well as helping our young gymnasts develop their sporting skills, we’re also very focused on the personal benefits they gain through learning about things like teamwork, patience, confidence, commitment and friendship.
“The quality of our facilities, our coaching and our ethos is reflected in the numbers of members choosing to travel to Cramlington from right across the region to learn with us, and we’re proud to be helping more and more children to become physically active from an early age to the benefit of their long-term health prospects.”
Leslie Hodgson, senior coach at Northern Gymnastics, adds: “It’s important that we offer the best and safest possible surface for our members to develop their skills on and to ensure that anyone competing in events is used to the type of sprung floor on which they’ll be performing.
“The Banks Group’s generous support saved us a great deal of fundraising time and effort, and has allowed our gymnasts to gain access to this excellent surface much more quickly than would otherwise have been possible.”
Jamilah Hassan, community manager at The Banks Group, adds: “Northern Gymnastics provides unrivalled facilities for anyone who wants to give the sport a go and the enthusiasm of its young members is only matched by the dedication of their coaches.
“We’re very pleased to be able to support yet another community sports club in an area where we’ve worked for more than four decades and wish everyone at Northern Gymnastics every success for the future.”
Anyone from a community close to a Banks Group project who is interested in applying for funding from the Banks Community Fund should first contact the fund manager via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible.