Larger gymnastics centre to open in Portishead

PUBLISHED: 05:47 04 August 2017

Ruby Harrold will be competing in Rio next month and coach Liz Kincaid from The Academy will be going too. Photo by Jeremy Long.

Ruby Harrold will be competing in Rio next month and coach Liz Kincaid from The Academy will be going too. Photo by Jeremy Long.

Jeremy Long \ JCL Photography

A gymnastics centre, which has produced Olympians for the past three games, is set to move to a new larger centre in Portishead so more children can be taught.

The Academy of Gymnastics will move a few doors down to a new home in September.

It has more than 700 members, but with a long waiting list, coaches decided now is the time to develop the academy further.

It has helped launch numerous careers, including that of Ruby Harrold who competed in Rio last year.

Refurbishment to convert an old printing facility into a gymnastics complex has begun – however, planning permission for a change of use has yet to be confirmed.

Coach Liz Kincaid said the move will help the centre to build on 15 years of excellence.

She said in her statement to the council: “We aim to keep children active in an enjoyable and safe environment, while enhancing their strength, co-ordination and flexibility.

“Over this time we have had representation at three Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games and several World Championships.

“We currently have several local children who are in the Great Britain national squad with ambitions to follow their old teammates.”

The academy’s move will enable it to take on new gymnasts.

Liz said: “By moving to bigger premises we will be able to open up more classes, resulting in 300 new spaces, which will help to substantially reduce our waiting list while at the same time increasing employment opportunities.”

The new building in Harbourmead is about twice the size of the academy’s current site.

It will also have a larger parking area too.

Liz’s colleague Gemma Watts said: “Currently, the gym which we occupy is quite small and we have definitely outgrown this home.

“The new premises is much larger, newer and will include a café, fitness gym, dance studio and shop as well as much larger gymnastics facilities which will benefit all of our attendees, from the preschool children right up to the elite gymnasts.

“We would love to say thanks to the many local volunteers who are making this move possible.

“Strangers are volunteering their own time and skills to help, which shows what a great community we have here.”

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