Gymnastics association appeals for public help to secure vital funding

Emma Gorman and Emma Woodward with Maire Campbell, communications director at Coca-Cola, James Laverty from Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) and John Heaslip of Business in the Community NI encourage people to vote for the Jordanstown-based British Amateur Gymnastics Association.
Emma Gorman and Emma Woodward with Maire Campbell, communications director at Coca-Cola, James Laverty from Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) and John Heaslip of Business in the Community NI encourage people to vote for the Jordanstown-based British Amateur Gymnastics Association.
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A NEWTOWNABBEY-BASED gymnastics association is urging everyone to help it win a £20,000 cash boost from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund.

The British Amateur Gymnastics Association is one of 45 groups from across Ireland which is in with a chance of receiving £20,500 from the fund with 10 runners up each receiving £8,200.

The fund offers vital support for projects and initiatives which help promote healthy and active lifestyles.

The British Gymnastic Association, based at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, will use the funds, if successful, to pilot a Northern Ireland-wide free-style gymnastics programme.

Glenda Webb, business development manager explained: “We are using the concept that midnight soccer used to get more people involved with the sport.

“Free-style gymnastics is similar to parkour in that it uses the surrounding environment. So you would have people literally bouncing off the walls.

“The demand and popularity of gymnastics is growing incredibly. It is a core sport in that it provides the ABCs that are used in many different sports.

“We would have the likes of Gaelic and rugby clubs coming to us because they want players to improve on balance and flexibility in their own sport and gymnastics provides a good platform for improvement.”

The British Gymnastics Association is the governing body for gymnastics and in Northern Ireland is responsible for growing the sport at a community and grassroots level.

Glenda added: “We are a not-for profit voluntary organisation that depends heavily on funding which is starting to dry up.

“All sports are in a similar boat and competition for funding is very competitive so to be in with a chance for an award from the Thank You Fund would make an incredible difference - we all have our fingers crossed.”

The next stage of the Thank You Fund award competition is a public vote which closes at the end of the month.

The public vote will count for 50 per cent of the total vote with the judging panel awarding the remaining half.

Maire Campbell communications director with Coca-Cola, said: “The response to the Thank You Fund has been remarkable and we have received many fantastic entries which showcase the inspirational work that takes place in communities.

“It is our hope that the funding will be used on projects that will have a long-term and sustainable benefit. We know from experience that when organisations receive even a little support they can do amazing things.

“We are very excited about the potential projects in the shortlist and would encourage members of the public to go online and vote for their favourite.”

To vote for the British Amateur Gymnastics Association go to www.coca-cola.ie.

The ‘Coca-Cola Thank You Fund’ is operated in partnership with The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) and Irish community support group The Wheel.