Gymnasts get a lift from generous donations

ON THE AIR: Dorchester YMCA gymnasts with their new tumble airstrip

HIGH FLYING SPORT: A young gymnast in action

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

YOUNGSTERS at a ‘thriving’ community facility in Dorchester are flying high.

The Dorchester YMCA, which has helped youngsters from several generations get a taste of and excel in gymnastics, is proving as popular as ever and has benefited from several generous donations.

The organisation boasts new equipment and is still helping more than 500 people in the county town enjoy sporting activities.

It is also spreading its reach beyond its Sawmills Lane centre to get more of the community involved.

Centre manager Hayley Gould said that the YMCA had been ‘lucky’ to benefit from a number of generous grants in recent months and the benefits were being felt by young people and users of its facilities.

She said: “We have been really lucky over the last 18 months to receive various different grants from local organisations and we just want to celebrate that and the equipment we now have here.

“It’s mostly gymnastics but we also run the Train Hard free runners from here, they come and use the centre, and we have cheerleaders that come in on a Sunday.

“We also do yoga and the activity room is available for meetings or dance classes at low rates because we are a community organisation.”

The YMCA received a grant from the county council to expand its reach and provide various items of equipment, including rhythmic and mixed gymnastics flooring, worth over £4,000.

The new flooring can be used at St Osmund’s Middle School, where it now runs satellite classes every Monday from 5.45pm.

Through the Dorchester Car Boot Sale Fund administered by West Dorset District Council the organisation also received a grant of £830 for a new tumble airstrip at its main centre and the YMCA has a service-level agreement with the district council for providing classes to children and young adults with disabilities.

The YMCA offers gymnasts the chance of all abilities the chance to get involved.

Mrs Gould said: “We are very busy and we offer gymnastics to all ages and abilities.

“Anyone interested is welcome to come and give it a go.”

She added: “We have people coming from 45 minutes to an hour a week for general gymnastics and enjoy what we have to offer with all the equipment, and at the other end we have some children that come in 12 hours a week and they are competitive.

“It’s such a fantastic facility, it’s all set out here for everyone.”

On the competitive side, Dorch-ester YMCA has been enjoying a fruitful time of late as it picked up a haul of medals at the Dorset County and Open Floor and Vault competitions.

It will also be entering a display team for Gym Fusion on June 22, a major event attracting gymnasts from all over the county.

The centre is expanding at such a rate it currently has vacancies for a number of part-time coaches and volunteers as well as a gym manager, with the YMCA keen to offer full training.

Mrs Gould said the YMCA was in every sense a community organisation, benefiting from local support to, in turn, boost the local community.

She said: “It’s a bit of a community hub really, and it’s keeping children and young adults – as well as adults – active and it’s a really lovely environment.”

Mrs Gould added: “Our legacy is to make the sport really fun. We want to be able to continue to thrive and work with people like St Osmund’s and other organisations to provide what we do.”

For more information, visit dorchester-ymca.org. uk, email dorchester-ymca @hotmail.co.uk or call 01305 266467.

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