Gym club launches additional needs classes

A NAILSEA gymnastics club will be the first in North Somerset and the surrounding area to provide specialist sessions for people with additional needs.

Gemini Gymnastics Club will offer gymnastic coaching for children and young adults with a range of disabilities and needs from September after three coaches gained qualifications in the field.

As well as aiming to improve the young people’s physical development by working with the club’s equipment, it is hoped the coaching will also benefit them socially, helping them to interact with others and boost their confidence.

The sessions at the Blackfriars Road facility will cater for people with additional needs including Down’s syndrome, dyspraxia, ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy and visual and hearing impairments.

Director Carolyn Devereux, who is also the work force coordinator for British Gymnastics, said: “This can open up a whole new avenue of participation for individuals who may never usually get the chance.

“With the club being so close to the special needs school, Ravenswood, we hope to work together with these children and teachers in the longer term.

“British Gymnastics are encouraging greater participation in the sport and their vision is for every mainstream competition to include a disabilities element, from grassroots club competitions right through to national championships.”

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The club’s directors have applied for funding from Cash for Clubs and the National Lottery to pay for specialist equipment but have been unsuccessful because Nailsea is classed as an affluent area.

However, they will continue to apply for grants to pay for equipment that would enhance the sessions including sensory items, scented balls, large hand equipment, a roller tunnel and large foam steps.

They also hope to enhance the club’s building by installing signs in Braille and Makaton.

Director Jill Pope said: “It is frustrating because if we were in an inner-city area we would have received a lot of funding.

“We will be buying additional pieces of equipment when we can so that we can provide a facility for the whole community without excluding the people with additional needs.”

* The coaching sessions will be held on Fridays from 2.45-3.45pm. For more details call 01275 854872 or email

* Let us know your views on the opportunities available to people with additional needs in North Somerset by voting in our poll or leaving a comment below.