A gymnastics club with a proud heritage stretching back more than 60 years needs to quickly find a new home.
Huddersfield Gymnastics Club has been based at the former Paddock Youth Centre on Beech Street in Paddock since the late 1960s but the building is in a poor state of repair and cash-strapped Kirklees Council has earmarked it for closure by the end of March next year.
It’s one of several buildings, leisure facilities and plots of land that will be sold or transferred to community groups as the council needs to cut £47m from its budget by next February or face bankruptcy.
The Paddock building needs £1m in repairs which means it’s highly unlikely it will be fit for a Community Asset Transfer to a community organisation.
Club coach Dawn Evans said: “We are having to leave as we’ve been told the building is going to be demolished. Although it’s listed to be sold by Kirklees, it’s in a very poor condition.
“We are actively looking for somewhere else but nothing has been sorted yet. We’d be willing to share with other sports groups who are also finding themselves homeless.”
The club now has just over 60 members and has classes for beginners, recreation and competitions. It’s also very busy with training on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings and also on Saturdays and Sundays.
The club needs to find an alternative building with around 5,000sq ft of space.
Dawn added: “Ideally we’d like somewhere we could leave our equipment out or where we could move it out of the way easily. The club had a huge waiting list before Covid and it’s now starting to pick up again.”
The club is strong in women’s artistic gymnastics which includes the vault, asymmetric bars, balance beam and floor.
It needs a male coach though. At the moment it can only do beginners and recreational gymnastics for boys.
Dawn is the daughter of former British gymnast Tony Birkhead who has been involved with the club for many decades.
Huddersfield Gymnastics originally began on Crow Lane in Milnsbridge with Stan Booth as the coach and moved to Beech Street in 1967.
The club has just finished competing at the Yorkshire regionals and two of its senior girls are representing Yorkshire in the national finals in Guildford in December.
Contact Huddersfield Gymnastics Club through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/p/Huddersfield-Gymnastics-Club-100064757646290
Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.