Safety first keeps gymnastic club open

A WOKING gymnastics club is spending £1,000 a month on cleaning and protection equipment to keep its classes going during the pandemic.

Prime Acrobatics reopened its facilities at Heather Farm on Horsell Common at the beginning of September after restrictions were eased and has about half the usual 1,700 members because of continuing regulations.

CLEANING UP – Prime Acrobatics coaches Katie and Rob wipe down equipment to keep the club COVID safe

Clem Malcolmson, the co-founder of Prime Acrobatics, said: “Presently, the club’s main emphasis is on keeping our members, staff and parents safe.

“Much effort has gone into keeping the children social distancing by having them working in the same pods each week, careful re-arranging of the equipment and colour-coding zones for them to work in.

“Disinfecting the equipment after use, after each class and at the end of the day has been a priority. In addition to these measures, once the last class of the day has departed the whole gym is ‘fogged’ ready for the next day.”

The club was set up by Clem, his wife Erica, and Chris Bowler in 2012 with the aim of giving more children and adults the opportunity to enjoy exercise and benefit from living a healthy lifestyle.

Prime Acrobatics moved into the former mushroom farm four years ago and has increased in popularity. The ages range from babies to people in their 60s.

MIST OPPORTUNITY – Andrew, the cleaner, “fogs” the club after the last class of the day

“We have been able to keep going during the pandemic, although there have been big adjustments and some redundancies,” Clem said.

“We know from the gymnastics family that several clubs around the country have gone under and not just the smaller ones,” he added.

Clem has lived and worked in the area since 1970 and was a school physical education teacher for more than 14 years.

He has formed several gymnastics clubs, including the Woking Gymnastics Club, which produced many British Artistic Gymnastics champions who competed at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games and the European and World Championships.

Clem has been national team coach at several of these events and has been named a Master Coach of Great Britain.

He devised Kindergym, a gymnastics pre-school programme widely used throughout centres across the country.

Chris has been a gymnast since he was four, later representing Great Britain, and began coaching when he was 14.

He studied sport and exercise science at the University of Portsmouth and has been head acrobatics coach for a Cirque du Soleil touring show.

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