Urgent help needed to help young gymnasts swap current crumbling premises for state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence
Rugby Gymnastics Club have launched an urgent fundraising appeal to help them swap their crumbling premises for a purpose-built state-of-the-art gym.
Detailed planning permission for the £1.6 million project at Kilsby Lane was granted in September and most of the funding is in place - but work cannot start until they have secured the £460,000 shortfall.
The move has been in the pipeline for over a decade and the club’s current Lower Hillmorton Road home is now in such a poor state of repair they will struggle to maintain it for another year.
The sale of the land for housing, along with £500,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Improvement Fund secured in 2015, will go a long way towards fulfilling their dream.
But even with the hard work of their own fundraising committee and applying for other grants, it’s not quite enough. They really need the support of local people and businesses to help raise the rest and make it happen as soon as possible.
The club’s move to a site at Rugby Town Junior Football Club’s ground will provide a fantastic facility for their 1,000 members - and have room for nearly 300 children currently on the waiting list, eager to try gymnastics.
Ranging in age from 18 months to adult, the club have 300 youngsters attending pre-school and play gym sessions, 70 in elite squads and the majority enjoying after-school general gymnastics. Two very talented boys also train with the British Men’s Artistic Performance squad.
The club, a registered charity, needs to expand to enable gymnasts to progress from regional and national competition, right up to international level and a £50,000 grant from British Gymnastics will help buy new equipment, with foam pits to fall safely.
Development Director Gill McKee said: “It’s so frustrating at the moment, we have the coaches and the gymnasts, but not the facility to provide what we want to provide.
“Every week gymnasts and tumblers have to travel to other clubs so they can develop their high level skills. They learn so much while they are there and come back and say if they had that equipment all the time they would improve so much.
“The building is in such a state now, it is costing more and more money in maintenance and it’s hard just to keep it going.
“It’s not a nice environment. Moving to a new gym would make such a difference to everyone.
“We often lose gymnasts when they reach 11 or 12, but if we had room to offer freestyle gymnastics for teenagers they could stay in the sport, as well as joining our leadership academies to become coaches of the future.”
The new gym, with its own car park, will be a Centre of Excellence enabling the club to host events and attract extra coaches from out of the area.
Schools and community groups already use the Lower Hillmorton Road club but a new building would be far better for everyone and enable them to also host school competitions.
“We could do so much more,” said Anna Dawson, Director of Coaching.
“We currently offer conditioning sessions to trampoliners and footballers and with a new facility would be able to offer more of these sessions to other community groups, even start a ‘fun for babies’ class for those under 18 months. It would be a facility for the whole community.”
The club have set up a Just Giving page for donations and would be very grateful to anyone who can help.
Anyone who would like to speak to the club about a donation can call Development Director Gill McKee on (01788) 542617.