‘Massive relief’ as gymnasts move into new home

After fearing that Blackpool Gymnastics club would have nowhere to go following the decision to demolish their previous gym, members were delighted to be able to start classes again in the new premises, on Poulton Industrial Estate.'Amy McPhail on the beam.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'5-11-2013
After fearing that Blackpool Gymnastics club would have nowhere to go following the decision to demolish their previous gym, members were delighted to be able to start classes again in the new premises, on Poulton Industrial Estate.'Amy McPhail on the beam. PIC BY ROB LOCK'5-11-2013
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Gymnasts have returned to training with a spring in their step following months of uncertainty surrounding their home.

When Blackpool Gymnastic Club were told their gym of eight years at Collegiate High School would be knocked down as part of its merger with Bispham High School and Performing Arts College in July, coaches feared their youngsters would be wandering the streets with nowhere to go.

However, an empty premises was found on Poulton Industrial Estate and the club has moved in to get their hundreds of members back on the bars and beams.

Founder of the club Janet Mankowska, 51, said: “It’s a massive relief and everyone is thankful we are in and this has happened.

“I was determined this would happen but I didn’t know if it would be realistic with us doing it in such a short space of time.”

The club, whose members range from age eight to 18, boasts a number of county level athletes and recently sent some of them to an international gymnastic competition on the Isle of Man in August.

Volunteers and parents stepped in to turn the shell of a building into a suitable gym fit for the youngsters, by installing toilets and changing rooms.

Mrs Mankowska added: “We got a lot of help from parents and people we didn’t know.

“There’s been a lot of parents helping out after work and weekends because we didn’t pay people to do the jobs.

“Everything from the changing rooms to the toilets needed doing because it was just a bare warehouse.

“We had to replace some equipment including some of the foam pits because they weren’t in the new gym.

“There’s been a lot of support from people.

“We’ve saved an awful lot of money and people have donated items to help us.”