Gym classes giving all children a healthier outlook

GYM classes for children with additional needs have become so popular at a Woking club that an extra class has been added.

Prime Acrobatics at Heather Farm on Horsell Common has a dedicated team of 10 coaches working with more than 60 children aged six-14 on Sundays.

HAVING FUN – Children with additional needs at Prime Acrobatics with coaches Josh, left, and Morgan

Clem Malcolmson, who set up the club in 2012 with the aim of giving more children and adults the opportunity to enjoy exercise and benefit from living a healthy lifestyle, said not many gymnastics clubs offer classes for children with special needs.

“Special needs children tend to do horse riding and swimming, yet gymnastics is ideal for them as it is about complete body management and lots of other social skills as well are involved in it.

“We have children right across the whole spectrum. There is a lot of ADHD, Downs Syndrome, one child has only one hand, and there are deaf and partially sighted children.

“The programmes that we do with them and the activities that they undertake are specially designed for their requirements.

“Two of the classes are with parents and one without parents. It’s good for the parents as well to be involved and to see them training with their kiddies in what we consider to be one of the best facilities around.”

The coaching team is led by Clem’s wife Erica  and Josie Rice.

“Josie is an experienced coach,” Clem said. “She coaches cheerleading in Basingstoke and started to coach for us in general gymnastics, but her speciality, her love, is for special needs gymnastics.”

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.

Prime Acrobatics has classes and sessions for people of all abilities from babies to those in their 60s.

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