Be Gymnastics: Six clubs running innovative community projects with help of funding
Six Welsh Gymnastics clubs are finding new and innovative ways to increase our sport’s reach to the community – all with the help of the Be Gymnastics Fund.
Afan Lido Gymnastics Club, Empire Gymnastics, Planet Sport and Community, St Tydfils Gymnastics, Valleys Gymnastics Academy and Wye Gymnastics have all recently been awarded funding – to help them run vital projects that have a massive impact in their local areas.
Be Gymnastics aims to provide more opportunities for children and young people to have the opportunity to access gymnastics.
The initiative offers grants ranging from £500 to £2500 for projects in Wales that intend to either: reduce inequality, create long-term sustainability or introduce new opportunities of different ways of operating.
It was launched to combat inequality gaps which evidence suggests grew during the pandemic – and look set to be heightened by the cost-of-living crisis.
Furthermore, the recent Sport Wales School Sport Survey showed a persistent deprivation gap in school age participation in sport.
Sport Wales data (August 2022) shows that 41% of people say the cost-of-living crisis has had a negative impact on their ability to be active. In the recent School Sport Survey, 10% (30,024) of pupils in Wales have an unmet demand for gymnastics.
Some of the projects supported by Welsh Gymnastics through Be Gymnastics range from running satellite clubs in deprived areas, to low-cost, subsidised and more accessible sessions in the community, to a Fit and Fed programme – offering free gymnastics sessions and meals during the school holidays to those who need it most.
One of the projects is being run by Afan Lido Gymnastics Club – who are providing additional free weekly gymnastics sessions throughout the school holidays for up to 420 children over a seven-week period.
“We were so pleased to be successful in obtaining funding for our project,” said Derek Jones, who is Chair at Afan Lido.
“We hope to encourage as many children as possible to take part in gymnastics.
“Gymnastics is the foundation for so many sports and we hope they will continue to be active through life.”
Another of the projects has seen Empire hire a local community hall a mile from their Pillgwenlly Millennium Centre base in Newport, in order to introduce new beginner gymnastics sessions on a regular basis.
The club has also already adopted training attire to enable youngsters from diverse and ethnic backgrounds to feel comfortable whilst training with them.
Head Coach Victoria Kidd said: “Our project for a multi-cultural and more affordable introduction to gymnastics would have only been a pipe dream but, with the funding that we have received, we can now make this a reality.
“We are forever grateful to Welsh Gymnastics for their support and believing in us through Be Gymnastics.”
In addition, Welsh Gymnastics also recently launched a separate pot called the Be Pre-School Fund.
With levels of pre-school activity having not returned as quickly as other areas of participation following the pandemic, this initiative aims to provide clubs with the start-up costs to enable growth of pre-school opportunities and provision.
In total, 14 clubs were successful in applying for Be Pre-School funding – ranging from £220 to £470 – with 18 pre-school places now being funded as a result.
In total, 15,000 has been invested by Welsh Gymnastics across all of the projects.
We have also been allocated additional funding to tackle the impact of cost-of-living – and continue to develop new, sustainable provision in areas where there is currently no gymnastics or under-represented groups.
If your club is inspired by these projects and feel there a project that would benefit from similar investment, please speak to your club development officer or email firstname.lastname@example.org