Gymnasts in Bognor Regis jump for joy at new funding

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DOZENS of gymnasts will soon be able to practise on modern equipment at their Bognor Regis home thanks to a ‘game-changing’ grant.

Regis Gymnastics has been given £25,000 from the county council to buy the items for its base on Durban Road.

The community interest company will use the money to install a gymnastic-sized sprung floor, bars, beams and vaults.

The award has been made in the council’s latest round of grants from its social enterprise fund.

Joel King, Regis Gymnastics’ lead coach, said: “It’s going to make a huge difference to us. The industrial unit we moved into last February was a big step for us but it is just a shell for the moment with the bare minimum of equipment.

“This grant is a game-changer for us. It would take us years of fundraising to raise that amount.”

Regis Gymnastics was based at The Arena Sports Centre in Bognor for several years before it outgrew the shared premises.

The move to its current home on the Castlegrove Business Park has seen the number of members double to 150-200. The dedicated space means more classes are held and the opening times extended.

Gymnasts’ ages range from one year old to the over-18s in the recently started sessions for adults.

Joel said he hoped the social enterprise fund would increase the chance of success of a £49,000 bid for funding from Sport England.

“It should mean we have a better chance of getting that money. If we do,” he said, “it will go a long way to refurbishing the building and putting in a trampoline and fun pits.”

The fund was set up by the county council in 2011 to support those improving their local areas.

Ten organisations have benefited from the latest funding. They also include Create Bognor Regis. It was also given £25,000 towards the provision of workshops and an artists’ space.

As well as the grants, the county council will spend £29,232 to provide specialist support to the successful applicants to ensure they get the best value from the grant. The awards were formally announced last week.

A report by the council’s director of economic growth, Caroline Haynes, said: “The support will include one-to-one sessions to solve the issues that affect the delivery of the proposal and to ensure that the funding is maximised by applying innovation and best practice in the delivery of the proposal.”