Last Updated on 27 June 2020 at 11:43am
Chloe Carey has owned and operated Harrogate Gymnastics on Hornbeam Park in Harrogate for nearly 11 years.
I started as a coach at Rossett Sports Centre an then opened a small space on Hornbeam Park.
From there the club has been extended, in 4-phases, and over the years. The last development was the new reception and changing rooms on the floor below.
We now have around 1,100 students and more tha come to drop-in lessons.
The club took the decision to close the doors straight away when the government said that people shouldn’t take part in indoor sports.
We took the decision to shut straight away as we didn’t know what was going on and believed it was the right thing to do.
We cancelled direct debit payments straight away and asked people if they would help contribute to the club, but with a much reduced payment – may people did.
We have run online gym sessions for all using our Facebook, but that can only go so far.
We still have many of our overheads with the building, but Hornbeam Park Developments have been very supportive and allowed us to also use an outdoor area.
As a business we have used the furlough scheme and received a small grant, but there is literally no money coming into the business right now.
Although COVID-19 rules are being relaxed in many areas, including pubs, cinema and non-essential retail, they are not being relaxed for gymnastic clubs or training gyms.
Schools are also returning with a target date of September for return. Nurseries have also returned and operate groups in bubbles, but don’t socially distance in those bubbles, as it is not possible.
Fighting the corner for the industry, British Gymnastics has said it is extremely disappointed that indoor sports have not been given the green light to return.
Chief Executive, Jane Allen MBE said:
Our member clubs have been preparing to deliver gymnastics in a Covid safe environment and they are going to be crucial in helping children re-socialise and in the revitalisation of communities.
Many children are missing school. They are missing their friends. Community gymnastics this summer is a vital way to help children remain active and connected.
Gymnastics activity can be delivered safely, and we call on the Government to allow this to happen now.
- The government says that it places great value on the benefits of physical activity, but they are massively letting the sports community down
- Our 1500 member clubs and the 400,000 children involved in these facilities UK-wide
We already socially distance in many ways and we are not a fitness gym for adults. The Government has said many times that the risk for young people is low and that exercise is of benefit in avoiding COVID-19,
It doesn’t make sense that pubs are being allowed to re-open when were not. Gymnastics provides a range of benefits to a young persons well-being, both physically and mentally.
The gymnasium lends itself well for changes in how we need to adapt to operate. For instance there are multiple ways to enter and leave, minimising the contact points for the adults – a one-way system. We would have additional hand sanitizing and equipment would be sprayed between use.
We also wouldn’t use the changing rooms, other than for shoes – our young gymnasts can come ready to train.
Additionally, we would use spots on the floor as a reminder to the littler ones to sit apart.
British Gymnastics are continuing to lobby parliament and many parents have written to Andrew Jones MP, asking for his support.