On Tuesday 20th February, a new purpose built gymnastics facility opened it’s doors in Leamington Spa.
My children both attend LWGC gymnastics, so this week I went to take a look around the brand new building & my children attended the holiday club. We were all so excited to see all the hard work come to fruition!
The founders of Leamington and Warwick Gymnastics Club Abby & Dave O’Neill, have been dreaming of opening their own dedicated facility since they opened their doors in 2009 and have worked tirelessly over the last twelve months to turn their dreams into a reality. The new facility in Radford Semele encompasses a vision which is inclusive, for all ages and abilities and the passion to drive the community side of the club is tangible.
Founder Abby said,
“It has always been the dream to open our own facility but in the early days it really was just that, a dream.
As the club began to grow we started to get waiting lists, we ended up opening as many classes as we could in the venues we hired but we still couldn’t accommodate the numbers or provide the diversity we wanted. We then started thinking more seriously about opening our own dedicated facility.”
The new gymnastics venue has been purpose built from the ground up and has been fully kitted out with Gymnova, (supplier to the olympics!) equipment, including Olympic size sprung floor, uneven bars, vault, beam and a foam pit and fast track.
It’s been a long road from dream to reality though as the team have been through a lengthy process to create what is now ready today! Perhaps luck was on their side though, as the architect that designed the building is founder Abby’s Dad, Peter Brooke, so he’s been party to lengthy conversations about ‘the dream’ for many years and after some planning issues with previous buildings their now landlord invited the team to come and have a look at her site and see if there was anything suitable.
“We could not believe it! Excitedly we met on the site in Radford Semele and had a look round. There was an old Dutch barn potentially on offer, we could see past the fact it had no walls and were excited to discuss things further. We then told the landlords would like to take the old Dutch barn down and replace it with a brand new building, for us!!!! Then a whole 12 months later with major decisions, a lot of stress (and excitement) from all parties here we are – makes it sound so easy! It wasn’t, but it has been so worth it. Seeing the dream become reality has been quite overwhelming.”
Naturally the founders are delighted to be opening their doors but they are equally as passionate about the benefits of gymnastics as Abby says,
“The benefits for pre schoolers, children and adults doing gymnastics are extensive and really do range all ages. Physical benefits are perhaps obvious but are still many – the improvement of strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, posture, fine and gross motor skills. Gymnasts will develop healthy bones, an overall fitness and endurance. However, the psychological benefits are perhaps what excite me more. Gymnastics will encourage and improve cognitive functioning – body and spatial awareness, focus, communication, positive social behaviours and the part I am most passionate about – it encourages self esteem, confidence and a positive self image. And of course … It is great FUN!”
Leamington and Warwick Gymnastics Club are offering a wide range of classes to families including ‘Stay & Play’ classes for 0-4years, Independent pre school classes for 3-4years, General Gymnastics classes from 4years – 12years. Teen gym 13 years – 16 years and Adults gym for 16years +, all classes are for boys and girls/men and women. All of these classes are for any level of ability. They also offer squad teams for gymnasts with a range of training hour options.
Alongside the state of the art equipment, the new building boasts a viewing area for parents which has a children’s play area, ideal for siblings and an all important coffee machine!
The possibilities are endless as the team seek to set up opportunities to run disability gymnastics. They are also working with British Gymnastics and meeting with organisations such as Entrust care partnership to help make this happen.
“Our ultimate goal is to increase participation and give children/adults of all abilities the opportunity to take part in gymnastics in a fantastic, purpose built facility. Our main goal and club moto is ‘Promoting Gymnastics For All’. We really believe that everyone, anyone, of any ability and any cultural background deserves to participate in the sport and in a facility of this standard. We support elite gymnastics and have a great pathway of our own but we are passionate that this great sport and it needs to be more accessible on all fronts.”
“We are community driven and already have good links with other clubs, schools and organizations. We want to build on this and have allowed time for groups to come in and access the new facility where our qualified coaches will be able to lead or assist parents/carers and teachers.”
LWGC open their doors on Tuesday 20th February 2018, for their holiday club and classes start on Monday 26th February.
They are now able to take on more budding gymnasts as the facility now gives them plenty of space to do so!
Here’s some photos of my babes enjoying the holiday club, which was outstanding!