Spelthorne gymnasts head over heels with spadework on new £2.8m home just days away
BUILDING work is due to start on a new £2.8million home for Spelthorne Gymnastics Club.
The club, where 2010 Britain’s Got Talent winners Spelbound started out, will move out of its current base at the former Brooklands College site in Ashford to what will be a purpose-built facility at Bishop Wand School in Sunbury.
The new build will cost a total of £2.8million, and the club has just been given a £100,000 boost from Surrey County Council.
Earlier this year a grant of £250,000 and a £200,000 loan were given from the London Marathon Charitable Trust, which gives out proceeds from the RideLondon cycling festival. Money has also been donated from the London Diocesan Board for Schools, Inland Homes and Sport England, leaving them with a £400,000 shortfall.
Bob Cooper, who founded the gymnastics club, which boasts world and European gold medallists, said the lease on the new building had been signed and a bird survey at the site completed.
“The bird survey was cleared this week so hopefully things are moving,” he said. “Probably in a week or so we will have the first spades in the ground.
“The project is a ninemonth build and we have already had one extension from Inland Homes from September this year to January 2017, so I will be talking to the builder to find out if they can make that date.”
Last summer it was feared the club was to be evicted from its home of 24 years.
The college told the club it would need to vacate its premises on Church Road as it was selling the land to generate funds for new facilities on Thomas Knyvett College.
But after striking a deal with developer Inland Homes, which acquired the site, the lease was extended and the club is still using the base while the new facility is being built.
The new building will also be available to the school’s 1,000 pupils for up to 25 hours a week during term time.
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Mr Cooper said this was one of the ‘huge benefits’.
He said they are also working with Sport England to develop other sports at the Layton’s Lane school building.
“We’ve got a cycling club for the parents and we are going to introduce dance, aerobics and health and fitness so there’s a few other things and spin-offs for the community,” he revealed.
“It’s not just going to be gymnastic facilities.
“There will be trampolining and dance and possibly martial arts too.
“The point is that the facility will be a very multi-use.
“The club members can’t wait. Everyone is really excited.”
Talking about the £100,000 grant, Surrey County Council leader David Hodge said: “While rising demand for services like adult social care means money’s tight there are still plenty of ways we can help make a big difference in communities, and this is one of them.
“Spelthorne Gymnastics plays a huge part in the lives of thousands of young people, from beginners through to elite gymnasts and TV stars – long may this continue.”
Coming on leaps and bounds: Spelthorne gymnasts display in the arena at Ashford on the Map’s Summer Fun Day at Brooklands College last year.
Bob and Alison Cooper of Spelthorne Gymnastics Club.