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Boost in funding from British Gymnastics sees Wakefield club reach more people than ever

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Boost in funding from British Gymnastics sees grassroots Wakefield club reach more people than ever before with transformation project


A gymnastics club in Wakefield is reaching more people than ever thanks to a new funding programme introduced by British Gymnastics.

So far, the sport’s governing body has allocated £2.4m in affordable loans as part of their Club Capital scheme, with £1.3m already drawn down by clubs. Twenty one have had their applications approved, with Utopia Gymnastics Club one of nine complete projects.

Utopia was formed in 2017 by ex-Yorkshire gymnast Kirstie Limbert and husband Luke with the goal of introducing the sport – and more importantly, the opportunity for anyone to participate in physical activity – to the local community.

A gymnastics club in Wakefield is reaching more people than ever thanks to a new funding programme introduced by British Gymnastics.

A gymnastics club in Wakefield is reaching more people than ever thanks to a new funding programme introduced by British Gymnastics.

Utopia is the first purpose-built facility in the area, and with many clubs in the region already at capacity, it has helped coped with the remarkable demand for gymnastics in the area. 

Following the opening session in May 2021, the club has already grown to 500 members, and has links into Wakefield schools, creating employment opportunities, and providing the region’s first ever dedicated facility offering artistic gymnastics programmes for young people.

Kirstie, director at Utopia, said: ‘I used to train in a church when I was a gymnast – but this is a different world. In the church we never had a full sprung floor, just a rectangle, which meant when we got to competitions, we had to replan our entire routines to do it on the full-size floor. It’s fantastic to give our young people the opportunity to train on the best equipment there is.

‘We are very much a grassroots club, we are working hard to continue developing our relationship with local schools where we are able to go in and deliver sessions to those who may never have had the chance to experience the sport at all.

‘We wouldn’t have been able to open without Club Capital. After being turned down by quite a few different lenders, we spoke to our facilities support officer at British Gymnastics who helped us get it off the ground. As soon as we heard about the opportunity, we were interested immediately and were just desperate to realise our vision, and I’m so glad we have got there.’

Utopia was formed in 2017 by ex-Yorkshire gymnast Kirstie Limbert and husband Luke with the goal of introducing the sport – and more importantly, the opportunity for anyone to participate in physical activity – to the local community.

Utopia was formed in 2017 by ex-Yorkshire gymnast Kirstie Limbert and husband Luke with the goal of introducing the sport – and more importantly, the opportunity for anyone to participate in physical activity – to the local community.

Converted from an industrial unit, the project needed £320,000 to transform dead space into a leisure space, including a reception, communal area, gymnastics floor, podium pit, as well as an additional dance studio which includes further gymnastics space.

Dave Marshall, participation director at British Gymnastics and at the forefront of the Club Capital initiative, visited the club just before the club’s Christmas break.

‘It is absolutely wonderful to see Utopia Gymnastics making the most of their new facilities,’ he said. 

‘We have been working hard to create as many opportunities in gymnastics through our Club Capital project, as well as providing stability to clubs whilst they rebuild through our Covid Recovery fund which includes a £1.5million recovery loan to help clubs who have been impacted by the pandemic. 

‘We have already committed over £2million to Club Capital projects, but there is more money to come so I would urge anyone if they are interested in what is available to help support their club, to look on our website.’

To find out more, or to apply for funding for your club, visit www.clubcapital.co.uk

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