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‘I don’t know how we managed it’: New gymnastics studio opens despite pandemic

PUBLISHED: 18:28 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:34 23 September 2020

The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth,  head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020

The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth, head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Archant 2020

Gymnastics coaches who managed to expand their business during the pandemic say they want their new building to be in use 24/7 as they plan to get more people into the sport.

Head coaches from East Anglia Gymnastics, Ben Walker (left) and Ash Moore. Previously, they held classes at Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Charter Academy - but now they have their own space. Photo: Sarah BurgessHead coaches from East Anglia Gymnastics, Ben Walker (left) and Ash Moore. Previously, they held classes at Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Charter Academy - but now they have their own space. Photo: Sarah Burgess

Ashleigh Moore and Ben Walker - both head coaches at East Anglia Gymnastics – submitted plans to Great Yarmouth Borough Council in June to convert an empty industrial unit at Brinell Way into their new gymnastics base.

And just three months later, on September 14, the club opened its doors at Harfreys Industrial Estate for the first time.

Mr Moore said: “Honestly, I don’t know how we managed to do it all at the time we did. It’s a big financial stress expanding your business at the height of a pandemic.

“But the doors opened last Monday, the sign went up last Tuesday, and now it’s sinking in that we’ve got our own space. We’re a fully-fledged gymnastics club. It’s very exciting.

The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth,  head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth, head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

“All the preparations were delayed because of the timing – and I had to fit the carpets and a lot of the equipment myself. Some nights I was in here until 2am getting things sorted, but now we’re here it’s definitely worth it.”

Mr Moore and Mr Walker say class sizes are running at reduced capacity due to government restrictions, but that there’s still plenty of space for people to get involved in the “best sport out there”.

Mr Moore said: “Our numbers dropped when lockdown was announced - maybe because parents lost their jobs, people were scared to come back or just the fact that everything felt a bit uncertain.

“But gymnastics is the best sport you can do. It’s good for helping people really let off steam after they’ve been cooped up for months. Any skill level is welcome to join - even total beginners.

“It’s perfectly easy to do it with social distancing as well. We have members in ‘bubbles’ depending on the activity they’re doing. They’re not mixing, they’re hand sanitising, having their temperatures checked and we’re wiping down equipment between each use. It’s very safe.

The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth,  head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth, head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

“Currently, we’re working seven-day weeks until we can find some more coaches. But during the daytime it’s pretty quiet here. We’re hoping to get some preschool classes running soon so that this space can be filled out all day every day.”

You can visit the website to find out more at www.eagymnastics.co.uk

The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth,  head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth, head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Ben Walker, one of East Anglia Gymnastic's head coaches, demonstrating that Ben Walker, one of East Anglia Gymnastic's head coaches, demonstrating that "absolutely anyone can join the sport" as he attempts a backwards somersault for the first time in a year. Photo: Sarah Burgess

The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth,  head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020The East Anglia Gymnastics venue in Great Yarmouth, head coach Ashleigh Moore inside the brand new facilities. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020


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