The 1990's

A Centre of Excellence

The new gym made Exeter Gymnastics Club a centre of excellence where our children could train. In turn the children rewarded the endeavours of parents and coaches alike by gaining Club, County, and National awards. It was unfortunate that this excellence was limited for so few to witness, and this was the challenge for the next committee - to build a viewing area.

In 1992, with the same enthusiasm as in the past, this was accomplished. The new gym building had been extended to incorporate a viewing area for spectators, as well improving the vault run up and the building of a second pit.

New Building, New Equipment, BUT!!!

1993 -1996, these years saw a great many different fund raising activities, allowing the Club to purchase new equipment, for the new gym, as well as to up grade existing equipment.

The Committee, also during these years became concerned with the inadequacy of many of the Club’s supporting facilities, changing, showering, catering, reception and waiting areas.

Pressure on facilities has also come from growing membership of young gymnasts and continuing use by disabled groups from local special schools.

The introduction of the National Lottery in 1993 with its five boards providing grants, in various sectors, was recognised as a new and significant source of funds. The Committee at that time acknowledged the important advantage of utilising the Club’s charitable status to apply to the Charities Board, which was able to provide 100% grants to successful applicants. This would enable the Club to extend the building to accommodate these facilities.

In 1995 and again in 1996 applications for funding, under the categories of health and youth respectively, were made to the Charities Board both of which were unsuccessful. During the assessment process members of the Charities Board who visited the Club expressed how impressed they were with both the proposals and the running of the Club but, that not withstanding the Club’s charitable status, the project was of a ‘sporting’ nature rather than ‘charitable’.

With the notification of the unsuccessful bid in 1996, the Committee accepted the need to reappraise the proposed extension and explore sources of partnership funding so that an application could be made to the Sports Lottery Board.

Disappointment!

The committee with the same enthusiasm as those before them, spent two years of hard work in putting together all the documentation required for an application to the Sports Lottery board. In 1998 the bid was submitted in the hope of successfully completing a project, which would fulfil the aims of the Club over the last 30 years and provide accommodation for the missing or inadequate facilities, which are so essential.

This final part of the jigsaw would allow more youngsters to experience the rewarding world of gymnastics. It would also allow their parents and other adults to ‘join in’ the Club, and to improve their own fitness. All the facilities for a Regional Centre for competitors, training weekends, regional squads and proper lecture facilities to train the much needed coaches and judges for the future of the sport, would also be in place.

Over the next eighteen months the Lottery Board asked for further information on a regular basis and although time consuming the committee were able to provide all that was requested. But unfortunately towards the end of 1999 the final decision was made and the Club’s application was refused.

Urgent - New Roof Needed!

The committee now felt that the only way forward was to “go it alone”, as had our predecessors, and make a limited number of improvements through our own hard work and resources.

The areas of improvement were identified, a new roof and an area where parents can wait for their children without being a distraction to the actual coaching sessions, were essential and needed immediate consideration. If funds permitted the other areas of improvement the committee would like to consider were the changing facilities and an improved refreshment area.

In 2000 an appeal went out to all the families to support fund raising activities to raise the money for these improvements. It was acknowledged that the project would be too costly to be covered purely by funds raised, so an application that the Club be considered for a further loan was made to the Bank.

Enough funds were raised to pay for the flat roofed area to be renewed and this was completed by the end of 2000, enabling the strategically placed buckets to be removed and the premises to be watertight once more.


. . . continued in 'Recent History'