Help save our local gymnastics club!!!!!

by Melissa Emmerson / Nicole Lister in Metro Riverside Park, England, United Kingdom

Help save our local gymnastics club!!!!!
We did it
On 20th June 2020 we successfully raised £11,273 with 305 supporters in 56 days

Due to covid-19, We need to raise funds to allow our gymnastics club to stay open and support the 850 children that attend our club.

by Melissa Emmerson / Nicole Lister in Metro Riverside Park, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We will be able to re-open once restrictions are lifted. And continue to provide a safe place for 850 children to exercise each week.


   We are Melissa and Nicole. We are cousins that own a family run gymnastics club that has been established within the local community for over 30 years. Gymnastics is in our blood. Our grand-mother is an ex coach and judge. My (Nicole) mother Julie is an ex national champion, both of our sisters coach along side us too. In fact there are 7 members of our family that coach gymnastics. 

      Over the last three decades we have built the club up with the help of our 18 dedicated team of coaches. All of whom are ex-competitive gymnasts. We have strong links within the community, with what was once the gym mum, now being the gym granny! And children that attended our club from 18 months of age are now bringing their own children to us which is wonderful to see. We feel an enormous sense of pride when we think of the amount of children and families we have helped over the years, our club currently has over 850 children attending per week.

     We concentrate on building strong foundations in gymnastics from a very young age. Promoting a healthy life style both physically and mentally. As well as the recreation sessions, we also offer advanced classes. Our classes cater for children from 6 weeks of age to young adults. We bridge the gap between performance academies and basic recreation clubs. Our standards within our advanced classes are extremely high at recreation level, and offer children that can not financially, or do not want to time commit to the pressure off attending training maybe 20+ hours per week at an academy, a chance to progress and achieve their goals. Another thing that our club excels at is bringing talented children up to such a standard that they can be fed into elite academies. With many of 'our kids' going onto compete at world level in all disciplines

     What makes us special as a club is that we accommodate families across the board. We have babies with feeding tubes, children with ADHD, home educated families, we have an enormous amount of grandparents attending the pre-school classes as well as adopted children and looked after children. We also offer drop in soft play type sessions, which are utilised by a lot of child care providers. Many of them are part of fostering under Newcastle. There are such a diverse range of people within our club it is hard to list


    We opened the doors to our new premises on Sunday 1st March. Which had been a family dream for so many years. This was a huge leap for us, both emotionally and financially. Leaving the comfort of a leisure centre that had housed us for over 30 years. But it allowed us to provide the best service possible to our loyal customers. Including brand new equipment and an improved time table. 

     Unfortunately, due to covid-19 we had to close on 18th March. Leaving us devastated. Since then we have fought tirelessly to save our club financially. We have tried to gain help from the relevant authorities, with no success.

     Due to the size of the area needed for our equipment, we had to gain planning permission for an industrial unit, to change the use to leisure. This process was very costly and time consuming. Now, because of the size of the unit, our rateable value is currently at £52500. We have applied to get this reviewed, but are not having much luck at the moment. This means we miss out on the government grant of £25000. (as we are over the 51000 mark).

     We do not qualify for the 80% job retention scheme either. As the government have stated that employees must have started before the 19th March (which they did), but also that their first pay and their information submitted to HMRC before the 19th, which is not the case as our first pay date was 26th March! So we have narrowly missed out there too!!

        Thirdly, the business interruption loan. We did not want to go down the loan route at the very start of our business. As we have ploughed 100 thousand pounds of our personal finance into this venture. But as a last resort we looked into this option. Again we are not eligible, we do not meet the criteria, as we do not have 12 months of accounting to show.

      We have applied to sport England for financial help, and due to the sheer amount of applications they have received, we have not been accepted.

    If we were to close our doors, this would mean over 850 children and their families would be left without their weekly safe place to take part in their chosen sport. This would have a huge impact on our local community. And would allow future rising stars to slip through the net.

     We have never asked for any financial help in all of the years we have been running. However, as we keep hearing ... these are unprecedented times! And with no immediate end in sight to the restrictions, we need to raise as much as we can to keep us going and ensure we can be there to re-open and continue with our mission to give every child the chance to take part in sport.

Thanks for taking the time to read about Raven Valley. And if there is any way you could support us we would be eternally grateful!!

Thanks Melissa, Nicole and all of our gym family. 



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