A GYMNASTICS club has been forced to move away from its home town because of a desperate shortage of suitable venues.
Biddick Gymnastics Club, in Washington, used to be based at Biddick School, but after renovations took place there was less space for its equipment and the group had no choice but to move.
It now pays rent to use space at Joseph Swan School, in Gateshead, which head coach Lynn Hope says is not practical for long-term use.
“We are limited to after-school times which means we can only practice for three hours a day,” she said.
“It takes an hour to unpack and pack the equipment away, so it means the kids can only get two hours’ training.
“If we had our own space we wouldn’t have to keep unpacking equipment and we could offer sessions throughout the day. We are qualified in baby and pre-school gymnastics, which we could offer through the day.
“Sunderland is the only authority in Great Britain which doesn’t have a designated gymnastics centre.
“A lot of parents say they are really happy with the classes but would love for us to be closer and do more sessions, but we can’t get anywhere.”
The club – which specialises in sports acrobatics, tumbling, general and women’s artistic gymnastics – is looking for a disused factory unit in Washington or the Sunderland surrounding areas to become its new home.
It has about 70 members, aged three to 16, and has a string of gymnastics awards under its belt.
“We’re a successful club,” said Lynn. “We recently competed in the North of England pre-grades and only three kids out of 20 didn’t walk away with a medal.
“Two of our boys are also national tumbling silver medallists.
“But we desperately need help to get on our feet with premises.
“We can’t afford to pay rent immediately, so we are hoping someone would give us somewhere rent free for a year.
“A lot of units are just standing empty and it must be a better option for someone to use it and pay your rates.
“Once we get up and running I know we will make the money.
“Ideally, we need somewhere of a 10,000sq ft minimum.”
l Anyone who can help the club is asked to contact Lynn on 07946 058 750.