West Hull Gymnastics Club was founded in January 2010 by mother and daughter Hanna and Ciara, and a fellow gymnastics coach, Sue.
Ciara had trained in gymnastics from the age of 5, competing at regional level and qualifying as a coach aged 16.
After many years just ‘helping out’ Hanna eventually became a qualified coach in 1999.
Sue had trained as a gymnastics coach and club welfare officer.
After many years of being involved in other gymnastics clubs, the time came to start our own club and fill a gap in provision in central/west Hull.
Located in the Endeavour School sports centre with one children’s class and a class for a Cheerleading squad to work on their gymnastics skills, West Hull Gymnastics Club began, with none of our own equipment but a lot of enthusiasm!
In 2011 the opportunity arose to move into Adelaide Primary School’s sports hall where the school’s small quantity of gymnastics apparatus was available. Successful funding bids to buy some of our own equipment improved provision and Sportivate funding enabled the Club to launch Hull’s first Freestyle Gymnastics session, teaching skills used in Parkour, Free Running and Tricking, providing a safe space for practicing and learning new skills.
In September 2013 the club had a huge breakthrough, being invited to move into the Sports Arena on Walton Street. A gymnastics club in Doncaster coincidentally closed down and the Club was able to buy a good selection of apparatus.
The Arena venue not only met the Club’s needs but enabled it to grow: staff set up and put away equipment, more children’s classes were opened, and an adult gymnastics class and a young Freestyle class were launched.
Gaining two more coaches, Chris and Zoe, made the Club’s future look secure.
However, in March 2015 all the sports clubs using the Arena were served notice to quit by April 12th due to the Arena being ‘repurposed’ to accommodate an indoor football pitch for Hull City use.
The Club’s dreams were shattered and it became homeless.
With all the gym equipment in storage it was a race to find somewhere that could accommodate the Club before it went bankrupt paying storage fees. Trying to keep some continuity, the children’s classes were moved back to Adelaide Primary School but the other classes had to close.
Many venues were visited, in schools and the community, but none had sufficient storage for the equipment.
The Club then received an invitation from Hull College, who, also having been evicted from the Arena, were negotiating to take over running the now ex-Endeavour school sports centre, the Steve Prescott Sports Centre, the school having closed.
West Hull jumped at the chance. The arrangement was finalised in September 2015.
The Club had hoped to restart in the new venue in September but necessary building works delayed the opening.
In January 2016 the building was ready and the Club again had the opportunity to expand, opening two more children’s classes to address an enormous waiting list and restarting the adult’s and 2 Freestyle classes.
In May 2017 a Pre-school class was launched for ages 18 months to 4 years and the Club’s first Development class for children with potential talent also started, aiming to prepare children for local competitions.
In 2018 Hull College planned to move all its operations from the KC Stadium site into the Steve Prescott Sports Centre and the Club was shocked to discover that this plan did not include continuing to accommodate us.
West Hull was again served notice.
Fortunately the Arena had already canvased the Club as to whether we would have an interest in relocating back to the venue once the football club had finished with it, which we had responded to positively. When they learned of our second eviction the Club was invited to move in immediately. Even though we would only be able to run classes on Saturdays, it was a home for all the equipment with promise of more time for classes in the future.
Those classes are now planned to launch at the end of April/beginning of May! We plan to have a semi-permanent set up with the apparatus being set out for Wednesdays and staying out until the end of Saturdays’ classes. This will give us the opportunity to run pre-school classes and invite schools in for sessions during the days with a range of children’s, teenagers, Freestyle and adults’ sessions in the evenings.
Our future aims are for the Club to continue to grow in size and reputation; train more coaches and raise funds to grow and care for our mounting array of apparatus.
We have always aimed to engage with community initiatives that we feel are of benefit to the local community and/or our members e.g. anti-bullying campaigns, road safety campaigns as well as running fun fundraising events for the club.
Gymnastic disciplines that we would like to introduce include Team Gym and Acrobatics.
If you would like to volunteer in any capacity, or have a great fundraising idea, please come and tell us your ideas! We are also considering gymnastics birthday parties for members and their friends!