Less than six months after the future of Newmarket Gym Club hung in the balance – after it had been told it had to quit its base at the town’s former Scaltback Middle School – its 170 members have been celebrating in their new headquarters.
It was Newmarket’s Racing Centre that stepped in to help rescue the club from an uncertain future and, after an open evening to launch its new headquarters last month, club members have taken part in the first sessions at the Fred Archer Way centre.
“After the disappointment of finding out in the summer that our home at Scaltback was to be demolished we are excited to have moved into a new venue at The Racing Centre,” said club chairman’ Nicki Negus. “We are able to use the hall twice a week at our normal time slots reducing disruption to our gymnasts and families.
“We are very grateful to Tom Lee and The Racing Centre team for coming forward and offering us a solution and for undergoing construction work to accommodate our large quantity of equipment and we were delighted that we could contribute half the cost to this work to benefit us all.”
Cllr Andy Drummond, Forest Heath District Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and culture and mayor of Newmarket, helped facilitate the move and was the special guest at the club’s introduction evening last month.
Newmarket county councillor Robin Millar also contributed £500 to help with costs from his locality budget.
“I am very pleased that Forest Heath has been able to play a part in supporting this excellent club’s work, so that no opportunities for physical activity are lost to the community,” he said.
The club, which currently has some 200 children on its waiting list, was originally told it would have to vacate the former school premises, which had been its home since 2013, by the end of October but Suffolk County Council was persuaded to extend that to the end of last month which meant the club only had to close over the Christmas period.
Tom Lee, manager at The Racing Centre, said: “ It was vitally important for the club to stay in central Newmarket and our location, and modern facilities, made this the perfect venue for them.
“It will be joining the hugely successful New Astley Junior Boxing Club, that has produced national champions and currently has one member training for the Commonwealth Games) with both clubs will be training twice a week on alternate days.
“The Racing Centre is a community hub for all of Newmarket to use. We feel it is sending out a great message that so many children and young adults can visit the centre and benefit from these clubs.
“It’s great to play our part in positively affecting the lives so many local children and in turn, their families.
“This is the first of many new partnerships being formed here as we look to announce an extended programme of physical and educational courses to Newmarket residents in the near future.”
Gym club secretary Sally Wallace added: “Tom and his team have been so welcoming even providing a fun introduction evening before Christmas to welcome all our families before we started in the New Year. They are now able to enjoy all of the facilities at the Racing Centre while we continue to provide fun gymnastic sessions for over 150 children.”
And thanking all members, their families and volunteers with help to move the club’s equipment to the new venue, Nicki Negus added: “Everyone has been so supportive in ensuring the club would not have to close. Knowing our future is secure once more we can get on with the important task of providing as many children as possible in the Newmarket area the opportunity to participate in the sport of gymnastics.”
For more photographs of the gym club in action, buy a copy of the Newmarket Journal today and turn to page 18.