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'I want to be an Olympic gymnast': City's gymnastic club springs back post-lockdown

If you are a sportsperson, it’s your dream to represent your country at the Olympics some day. 
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Spiral Gymnastics Club based in Bretton, Peterborough talks about being back post lockdown

Just like nine-year-old Evie Elmore from Peterborough, an upcoming gymnast from Bretton-based school Spiral Gymnastics. 

Spiral Gymnastic Club was started in 2011 by former Olympic gymnast Katherine Everett who represented Great Britain. 

The club will be celebrating 10 years later this year and has 450 members. It caters to a wide range of age-groups, using pre-school equipment, accessories and soft play for the Gym Tots and Parent and Child sessions, along with a full-sized trampoline, blocks and a large landing pit which are great additions to all sessions. 

During the lockdown they have seen challenging times and have had to rely on zoom sessions to keep the classes running, but are delighted to be bouncing back on the mats at the gym in Bretton. 

They resumed sessions in May but have had to be cautious to ensure everyone is kept safe.

Evie has been coming to the gym for the last three years and enjoys seeing her friends.

Sharing her plans, Evie said: “During the lockdown, we had zoom classes that kept us busy but I missed this place.  

“My ultimate dream is to be an Olympic Gymnast.” 

Teenagers Sophie (13) and Julena (17) have been coming to Spiral since they were both seven-years-old. They have shared their experiences and said: “The atmosphere is second to none, it’s amazing.

"We were doing zoom lessons but we missed the social aspects of it. 

“Even just coming here after a busy day at school is really good. It really helps us with our mental health, helps us clear our mind. 

"We want to go as far as we can with our gymnastics but would love to become a coach going forward.” 

Julena sent out a message to fellow teenagers and said: “Don't be afraid to try something new, age is not the limit, go for it and have fun”. 

One of the coaches at the club, Julie Berry highlighted the importance of the space they offer and how they have coped during the lockdown.

She said: “We have got something from every age group. We have squad members taking part in competitions, they normally train up to 12 hours a week. It’s a big commitment. 

“We have a good coach-to-gymnast ratio at the club. We try and make training fun and they feel welcomed, it's important for us. 

“Lockdown was really hard. In the beginning, it was a bit of a novelty and the weather was good too. We went from 12 hours in the gym, going from flipping and flying in the gym to doing conditioning and stretching and practicing in the gardens just three hours a week. They couldn’t do a lot of the fun things. 

“The girls are really happy to be back, you can see they are enjoying themselves, laughing. It’s good.  

“We know that physical activity can really help with mental health especially for teenagers.  

“During the lockdown, most if not all our coaches completed an introduction to mental health awareness and physical activity training course and we did that on our effort as part of our personal development. 

“We have a young leaders program who have also completed their mental health training. 

“We have about 12 young leaders, between the age of 11 and 17, where we invest in them and they do volunteer hours. They complete different projects and get involved in supporting competitions. We are lucky we have a good program here. If anyone would like to be part of it, we would love to hear from them.

“During lockdown, the leaders ran a project lockdown and helped keep members engaged. 

“Spaces like our club are massively important. We have got quite a lot of teenagers, we are really proud of the reputation we have of keeping the teenagers involved in the sport. It’s a great way to keep them active, social and engaged.” 

The club was also a finalist at the Living Sports Awards in 2020 for all their work especially during lockdown, which they said they are ‘very proud of’. 

During the summer break, Spiral gym is offering several sessions between August 16 to August 20. 

The sessions need to be pre-booked and will cost £15 for members and £18 for non-members. 

You can email the club on activities@spiralgym.co.uk for more booking information.