Gymnastics coaching for children in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge has received a boost after one of the area’s biggest leisure providers 1610 announced a partnership with British Gymnastics.

1610 which manages 19 leisure centres based on school sites across Somerset, Devon and Dorset – including Highbridge’s King Alfred Sports Centre has – is to have all its gymnastics courses affiliated to British Gymnastics.

1610 currently coaches 270 children of varying age groups across its leisure sites every week and gymnastics represents the second biggest sport after swimming that it provides coaching for.

The new partnership with British Gymnastics will mean the provision of more gymnastics coaches and courses which are delivered inline with national programmes designed by British Gymnastics.

There is growing demand from children to take part in gymnastics, linking with British Gymnastics will mean it will be easier for 1610 to recruit coaches through talent spotting its existing staff to take on new gymnastic coaching roles and to be trained to the high standards required by British Gymnastics.

Ricky Hayes, the Swim and Sports Development Officer for 1610 says the new partnership with British Gymnastics will hopefully encourage more youngsters in to the sport and provide a pathway to greater success for budding athletes.

“Gymnastics is already one of most popular sports for children at our leisure centres and this new partnership could help grow the sport further with the provision of more high quality coaching,” he says.

“The affiliation with British Gymnastics will also allow a pathway for children to progress onto club gymnastics and as with other sports its this sort of involvement at grass roots level that can lead to national sporting success and to the creation of future British gymnastics champions.”

1610 will also be working with British Gymnastics to identify local gymnastics clubs which 1610 can link with to create pathways for long-term participation of gymnastics.