Impressive Financial Support For Our Athletes In 2019
It’s wonderful to hear 87 gymnasts have benefited financially from the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme in 2019. This means, of course, there could be a number of potential stars in the making, perhaps with even Paris 2024 in mind. This is all down to the work of the GLL Sport Foundation, working tirelessly to help athletes improve and move forward positively with all the help they need.
Largest Ever Backing
In fact, this year’s funding of £52,000 is the largest ever, also demonstrating their commitment to the sport of gymnastics here in the UK. It’s also a fantastic way to celebrate 11 years of the programme and £11 million in funding throughout this time. Not only will selected athletes receive funding, but they’ll also have the door opened to first-class physiotherapy and sports science support.
Before the organisation’s inception in 2008, it had become clear, not just in gymnastics but across the board, a number of talented children had given up on their dream due to a lack of finance and support. Charity social enterprise, GLL, created the foundation to solve this frustrating problem once and for all.
It’s one thing for the sports’ governing body to be delivering an innovative scheme to help those suffering from the blight of dementia. But when a much respected member of the royal family comes along to demonstrate a valuable physical activity, everything is given much more meaning.
‘The Help To Move Scheme’ is an age and dementia friendly seated gymnastics programme transforming the lives of people living with the effects of this debilitating condition. Early results have been encouraging, and the project has made a successful return in 2019.
What better place to promote the scheme than at Derby County football club, host to UK Coaching’s Applied Coaching Research Conference. This year’s event was based on the theme, ‘Shape The Future Of Coaching’, drawing more than 150 coaching practitioners from a number of sports.
Throughout a busy day, delegates enjoyed a variety of sessions and talks from greatly experienced coaching practitioners, keen to impart recent coaching research and practice information. All this is necessary to keep everyone ahead when it comes to coaching, sporting trends and improvements. The aim is to push the bar even further, and this was all about sharing, learning and working together on a number of original ideas.
The people of Birmingham are feeling rightly proud of the fact their city is to host the prestigious 2023 World Trampoline, Tumbling & DMT Gymnastics Championships. What’s more, it will follow on from what is certain to be a successful 2022 Commonwealth Games in the West Midlands. It also enhances both the UK and the second city as a base for world class sporting events. And with three spectacular gymnastics disciplines in action across 10 fabulous days, huge crowds will witness a great selection of top-quality gymnastics skills.
A Great City
“We are thrilled to have secured another world class event in Birmingham, a city that we have a fantastic history with”, said British Gymnastics Chief Executive Officer, Jane Allen. “It is a great opportunity to promote and showcase gymnastics, and in particular, the disciplines of trampoline and tumbling in the UK to inspire the next generation of gymnasts.”
And what better venue could these athletes have than the superb National Indoor Arena and all it’s fantastic facilities. You may recall back in 2011 at the Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships, Britain’s women’s trampoline team secured world silver, in what had been an amazing competition.
As the country’s seventh largest city, Szczecin is home to the largest seaport in Poland. It also played a huge role in the anti-communist uprisings of 1970 and the emergence of the Solidarity trade union in the 1980s. Now, in more settled times, it’s also a well-known place to see first-class gymnastics.
That’s exactly what will happen between the 10th and 14th of April when the eighth European Men and Women’s Artistic European Championships takes centre stage.
Strong Team Announced
Great Britain will expect to do very well given the sport’s governing body has recently announced a strong team in both sections of this enthralling competition. There’s little doubt Defending European all-around champion Ellie Downie will want to construct a performance opening the door to more medal glory. At the peak of her powers she’ll certainly provide spectators with some moves to remember.
Nottingham born Ellie will be joined by the reigning European all-around bronze medallist and first year senior, Amelie Morgan, who claimed five medals last year – the most medals won by a British junior female gymnast.
Also standing out for women will be the 2018 British All-Round Champion Kelly Simm from Southampton. In 2014, Kelly became English Floor and British Vault Champion, and later went on to win Team Gold with England at the Commonwealth Games.
Thanks to the fewer days in February, Quarter 1 always feels short – but you wouldn’t know it from all of the exciting product updates we’ve crammed in here at Gymnastics Club Manager!
To find out more about everything we’ve been up to in the last quarter, read on.
New Enhancement: Archiving Attendance History in the System
We have now rolled out our long-awaited feature – the functionality to store attendance history against a person’s record. Not only that, but the information is retained in the system even after the class or attendance template is deleted.
The system can now automatically archive attendance history against peoples’ records, including attendance that was recorded prior to the enhancement being rolled out.
To view the attendance history of a person’s record:
Step 1: Go to the person’s record you wish to view the history for and hover over ‘Actions’
There’s a single word used to describe the dedicated and hardworking gymnastics volunteers up and down the nation – ‘priceless’ – because that’s exactly what they are. And in truth, clubs large and small just couldn’t manage without them. They are, of course, ‘unsung heroes’ for their amazing contribution to the grassroots of the sport in their local communities.
Similar to our own Gymnastics Club Administrator of the Year Award, British Gymnastics have been great supporters in recognising the input and sheer inspirational qualities of those willing to give up their free time to help others. And it’s the very reason special awards were once more handed out at a wonderful event in the West Midlands recently.
Birmingham Town Hall was the venue for the British Gymnastics National Awards where 11 role models were short-listed and invited to enjoy an evening of friendship, appreciation and thanks for making such a difference to the sport.
Joanne Conroy from Warrington Gymnastics Club was one of those selected following her fund-raising efforts, work with its leadership academy and organisation of events. Joanne has been offering vital assistance for four years and was taken aback by the interest in her work: “I felt very overwhelmed! From my point of view, I don’t feel that I make that much of a difference, but it seems like I do and when I was told by Mandy, our Operations Manager that she had nominated me, I was speechless.
“It was really interesting speaking to the other volunteers from the other clubs on the night, finding out what they’re doing, what they’ve achieved, what challenges they’ve faced and how they’ve overcome them, and it gave me lots of ideas to take away to my club.”
It’s important to mention Joanne is hoping to expand the club’s Leadership Academy, a national programme designed to create a structure to help young people develop as leaders within a gymnastics environment.
life can be fraught with complications in many different areas, meaning potential
star gymnasts may not always get the chance to shine their light. Unfortunately,
this can often be down to financial reasons, making it all the more frustrating
for the individuals involved.
there is an invaluable body called the GLL Sport
Foundation, committed to supporting athletes across the UK to develop their
potential and achieve sporting success. By offering financial support to
gymnasts across the UK, they can help ensure no-one is left behind due to financial
blockers. Created in 2008, the GLL Sport
Foundation is the largest independent athlete support programme. It’s operated
by Charitable Social Enterprise GLL and supports athletes in 75 regions across
England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
fact, we have a great deal to be thankful to them for in terms of nurturing talent. In their first decade, the
foundation has contributed to the success of 33 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
From councils to fellow foundations, their list of partners is extremely
impressive. What’s better, anyone is welcome to apply.
foundation discovered the annual cost of attaining high national sport rankings averaged £6,000. Talent was being lost due to financial hardship
with an associated negative impact on local young people, communities and
sports clubs. They were determined to overcome this problem.
Louise Wright is a perfect example of just what can be achieved by our
gymnastics clubs given space and time. Recently recognised in the Queens New Year’s
Honours List and awarded a British Empire Medal, she’s now been nominated for
an Education Award through British Gymnastics for her work in helping develop
preschool gymnastics education.
more than 30 years of coaching this highly regarded figure in the sport has
helped many dreams come true and offered lots of young people the chance to
become fit, healthy and have fun along the way. In fact, she runs the Tooting
Gymnastics Club in South London which is now so popular with parents and
youngsters alike its waiting list is seemingly endless!
sport’s governing body were keen to celebrate her achievements, and at the same
time demonstrate they are there for all aspiring clubs.
“What I enjoyed most about the National Awards was the recognition from British Gymnastics in being nominated,” said Mary. “They have done a great job in communicating the National Awards to the gymnastics community and it has hopefully increased the profile of preschool gymnastics and what it’s about.”
Preschool gymnastics is a vital tool in getting young people involved in the sport at a very early age. It can open doors to a happy and healthy childhood and may even pave the way to future glory.
More importantly, it’s about being part of something special – just like the club at Tooting.
A Tooting Success
marks 30 years of success in April, but it’s not just about finding potential
medal winners. The ethos of the club centres around teaching gymnastics to the
highest standards and enabling youngsters to make new friends and encourage
social interaction in a child friendly and safe environment. After all, when
done correctly, gymnastics can be a character forming and recreational sport.
and her hard-working team have continued to offer gymnastics sessions for more
than 500 boys and girls. All of their coaches hold British Gymnastics
qualifications, are DBS checked and have Safeguarding qualifications. This
popular head coach has also ensured her charismatic club adheres to the
principles of equality of opportunity, with equal access to all the facilities
for everyone. She is in every sense a role model for how a gymnastics club
should be run.
Mary added: “30 years is a long time, yet it sometimes doesn’t feel that long ago. I feel immensely proud of the club and what we have achieved over the years. It’s not just been me, but many, many people have been involved and there are some who are still involved with the club who have shared the journey with me. I didn’t set out to start a club, it has just grown organically, and I am forever grateful to all those that have been involved and those who will continue to be involved.”
The Queens Honour
The Empire Medal will be presented for her services to gymnastics and engaging children from her local community into the sport. In essence, this is what club gymnastics is all about. This is why clubs are always on the lookout for volunteers and staff who are passionate about helping their local community.
Mary explained: “I was surprised and a bit shocked! I really didn’t know anything about it until a letter arrived a few weeks before Christmas. When I then heard how the nomination had come about and all the people who were involved it was very emotional and obviously a huge honour. To have been nominated in the first place was amazing, but to have been given the BEM was something else! I am very aware that there are so many other people out there doing the same as me and more, so it’s been very humbling, and I am very grateful.”
It should also be pointed out Mary was joined in the New Year’s Honours list by John Wills, the founder of Banchory Trampoline and Double-Mini Trampoline Club in Aberdeenshire.
Back in 2018, two of his members were chosen to represent Great Britain in Double-Mini Trampoline. John, who also gets a BEM, is the Trampoline Judging Convenor on the Scottish Gymnastics Technical Panel.
Both Mary and John will receive their medals later this year, no doubt in their own likeably modest fashion leaving inspiration behind them for others to follow.
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Smith MBE is well versed in taking to the stage at the highest level. So
swapping one for another actually seems to be a logical switch. His recently
announced retirement from gymnastics isn’t a case of ‘Rip it Up’, though that’s
the musical he’s now co-starring in. So, it’s actually a case of from the high
end to the west end for this pommel expert now set to enter the world of
is a four-time Olympic medallist, carrying history on his shoulders having won
Britain’s first medal on the pommel horse in 100 years in Beijing 2008. It was
probably the most valuable Olympic bronze ever. It didn’t stop there of course,
as he went on to win an individual silver and a team bronze at the London 2012
yet another games arrived in Rio, Louis rose to the occasion with another
silver on the pommel. By then he’d forged a reputation as one of the finest
ever pommel horse workers. As a result, his achievements created a massive
impact on the development of men’s gymnastics across the UK. A huge inspiration
to the next generation of athletes, this Peterborough born artistic gymnast
leaves a fantastic legacy.
gymnastics experience is a unique nationwide gymnastics course for both girls
and boys aged five to 12 years of age. It’s been custom designed to deliver all
appropriate gymnastics disciplines for those just starting out, or for
individuals who want to develop existing skills further. Those on the course
are very likely to get a visit from the man himself.
Speaking after he’d announced his retirement on ‘Lorraine’, Louis said: “Gymnastics has given me everything. It gave me the tools necessary to channel my ADHD throughout my childhood, and as I grew up through the sport, I quickly found a purpose in life, and it has made me the person I am today.
“From a young age it became my dream to compete at an Olympic Games and represent Great Britain, so to have had the opportunity to do that on three separate occasions, and bring home four Olympic medals in the process, is something I will forever cherish and for which I am eternally grateful.”
Sport to Show-Business
who also won three World Championship medals, was the winner of the BBC’s
Strictly Come Dancing programme in 2012 alongside partner Flavia Cacace.
There’s little doubt this is where the show-business bug really took shape,
though he’d had previous ambitions as a singer auditioning for the X Factor in
went on to take part in the 2014 Strictly Christmas special with guest
professional, Aliona Vilani. He also performed in a live dance show called ‘Rip
It Up’, starring McFly’s drummer Harry Jud, and JLS’ Aston Merrygold. If that
wasn’t enough to impress, how about appearing on The Jump, only losing out to
Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews in the final? Not bad for a lad who was
diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), at the age of
clear from this the 29-year-old has a range of talents at his disposal, meaning
the future looks very bright indeed away from the sport of gymnastics.
“I first met Louis when he was around seven years old. His mum couldn’t decide whether to send him on a choral scholarship or to go with gymnastics.” said British Gymnastics Men’s Head National Coach and Louis’ former personal coach, Paul Hall. “Seven years later, Peterborough Cathedral may have missed a boy soprano, but GB had a Junior European Champion on Pommel Horse.”
for services to gymnastics he was made a Member of the Order of the British
Empire in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list. His legacy is a reminder of just
what can be achieved both in and through this wonderful sport. And the message
from Louis is anyone from any background can succeed given the will and
Speaking further about Louis, Paul Hall said, “his contribution deserves to be recognized. Four Commonwealth medals, seven European medals, five world medals, four Olympic medals, and one Glitterball. Great job Louis!”
The Stage Is Set
Despite Louis Smith swapping one stage for another, it certainly seems that he has a lot to offer. We can’t wait to see what he does next.
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It’s one of the highlights of the busy gymnastics calendar and the culmination of years of dedication for many of those involved. The British Gymnastics National Awards 2019 will be recognising all that’s great and good in the sport. And it’s of course fitting, the governing body helps pay tribute to all the wonderful people and clubs up and down the UK.
Birmingham Town Hall will provide the backdrop for what looks to be another enthralling and sociable evening bringing some very special individuals together on January 29th.
It’s a fact there are some incredibly inspirational human beings within the gymnastics family, and everyone from the athletes themselves to coaches, admin staff to volunteers, parents to organisers, have a valuable role to play. Both recognising and celebrating their achievements is always a joy to behold. Anyone nominated can feel justifiably proud their efforts have been taken into consideration, and of course, making the shortlist is a huge compliment in itself.
With all this in mind, the nominations have been officially announced, and it makes for fascinating reading. Let’s take a closer look at the lineups!
The National Club Award
This award officially recognises a club affiliated to British Gymnastics, providing a first class quality experience for all their members. It’s also a reminder of how important the feel, welcome and professionalism of a club can be.
Three clubs have been shortlisted this time, and they include AAA Sports of Sunderland, DC Gymnastics in Berwick Upon Tweed and The Pegasus Gymnastics Club based in Maidstone. Each is a club of outstanding quality with an a superb reputation and example for others to follow.
The National Volunteer Award
We’ve touched on the contribution of volunteers in the past, and this particular award recognises a volunteer over the age of 18 whose contribution to gymnastics has been invaluable. It also takes into account just how vital their work has been behind the scenes. Michael Gevaux, Sandra Crowe and Su Kileen are shortlisted on this occasion, shining lights within the gymnastics community.
The National Young Volunteer
It’s not always easy to give up your free time when there are so many things going on in our younger years. So this special award is aimed at those who provide enthusiasm in helping others enjoy the sport. Step forward Alice Elizabeth Corden, Amber Turner and Bradley Welsh. Every one a background star.
The Equality And Inclusion Award
Both diversity and equality are significant in gymnastics. As a result, the governing body has created this prestigious award for those who demonstrate these values through the delivery of a quality inclusive gymnastics programme.
It was no easy task finding the final three, but the judges arrived at Kelly Morrow from Club Gymfun and both Woking and Nuneaton Gymnastics Clubs.
The Education Award
The vital delivery of coach education is always looked upon as one of the key areas of the sport. In fact, it plays a crucial role. This is an award for people who bring excellence to the table in their own delivery.
Gary Kirby, the Pre-school Panel and Paddy (Alan) Lavelle have been shortlisted for the 2019 title.
The National Safeguarding Award
It’s already clear there are so many valuable roles within gymnastics. So many parts we can all play. And in this fast moving age, none are more important than keeping children both safe and protected. This is is why it’s totally necessary to recognise an individual who has delivered a committed and enthusiastic service to the welfare and safeguarding of the young ones.
Christine Cason, Jenni Harris and Mike Gevaux all fall into this category. Their work means parents especially can relax, safe in the knowledge their young ones will always be in a safe environment.
We mustn’t forget the athletes themselves of course and there are several other awards paying tribute to a number of outstanding individuals. These include the Award of Merit, Nik Stuart Honorary Life Member, the Frank Edmonds Trophy and the Alex Strachan Trophy. Look out too for the Outstanding Coach of the Year and an award for the most outstanding athlete. There will also be inductions into the British Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Whatever happens, people will leave the event knowing their sport is in a wonderful place, and hopefully, it will inspire everyone for the next year and long beyond.
Short-listed Nominees: National Club Award – AAAsports, DC Gymnastics and Pegasus Gymnastics Club
National Volunteer Award – Michael Gevaux, Sandra Crowe and Su Kileen
National Young Volunteer Award – Alice Elizabeth Corden, Amber Turner and Bradley Welsh
Equality and Inclusion Award – Kelly Morrow (ClubFUN), Nuneaton Gymnastics Club and Woking Gymnastics Club
Education Award – Gary Kirby, Paddy (Alan) Lavelle and the pre-school panel
National Safeguarding Award – Christine Cason, Jenni Harris and Mike Gevaux
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