Blackpool gymnast springs into business after injury

Chelsey Marie Baldwin who has launched her dance academy business

Chelsey Marie Baldwin who has launched her dance academy business

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A young gymnast is head over heels after setting up her own acrobatic school, thanks to help from Blackpool Council’s Get Started service.

Chelsey Marie Baldwin has set up her own dance school – the Chelsey Marie Dance Academy - in Blackpool to help young children become Olympic superstars, after her own dream ended through injury.

Named as one of the best young gymnasts in the country a few years ago, Chelsey regularly competed with Britain’s best such as Olympic medallist Beth Tweddle, reaching a ranking of the seventh in the country on the vault.

However, when injury took its toll, Chelsey was forced to retire from the sport in 2010, aged just 17.

Chelsey was then introduced to gymnastics coaching, where her eye for detail and perfection allowed her to help young gymnasts in Blackpool to improve and progress through the ranks.

Through her success, she was hired as a professional instructor for a dance school’s acrobatics team, where she learnt to choreograph routines and new acrobatic techniques.

From there, Chelsey decided the time was right to become her own boss and set up the Chelsey Marie Dance Academy, approaching the Council’s Get Started team for help to secure finance and a location to make her new dream a reality.

Thanks to help from the service and a £1,910 grant from the BIBAs foundation, Chelsey has now started the academy, which helps children in South Shore to enjoy acrobatics. It operates five evenings a week ranging from parent and baby sessions up to advanced acrobatics for teenagers.

Chelsey said: “I’d been a gymnast since the age of four years old and started my journey in the world of gymnastics at Blackpool Gymnastic Club in Blackpool Sports Centre.

“I was introduced to coaching by my own coach Sammy Mankowska and I fell in love with it. I had the eye for spotting mistakes and also the praise for the children who gave it their all.

“It was the buzz I received from them learning new skills and the looks on their faces when they had successfully completed it that kept me going back for more. It was then I decided to extend my ambitions onto another level.

Monday and Tuesday sessions take place at The Oracle on St Annes Road, with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday sessions next to the Methodist church at Palmer Avenue.

Coun Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for business and economic development, said: “This is a great story of Chelsey bouncing back from a setback, taking control of her future and setting up in business – I wish her the best of luck.”