Excelsior Athletic Development Club
A sports club catering for local children offering gymnastics, weightlifting and athletics.
We set up the gymnastics club in Willand in September because all the existing clubs in Devon have waiting lists. The gymnastics classes are aimed at creating displays at the end of each term so that the children can show their skills to friends and family. This is not a competitive club, we want to be more like a choir or orchestra where everyone contributes to the show at the end.
We currently have 32 gymnasts (age 5-10) training every week. They are currently using thin floor mats. Their gymnastics skills are progressing well.
In the summer months we offer athletic training in the village concentrating on sprinting, jumping and throwing. Our junior athletes have been doing gymnastics in the Winter, whereas our teenage athletes have been doing weightlifting.
We do have some youngsters who just like gymnastics, and others just do weightlifting.
But our club is the only one in the country offering all three sports. This ensures a well rounded athlete who can enjoy whatever they do for years to come.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
We hire the Willand School Hall which has limited space and a concrete floor. We can do exercises like cartwheels, handstands and rolls safely on the PE mats, but the floor is unforgiving to those who are still learning.
The popularity of the club means that we have outgrown the school facilities and wish to move the adjacent Village Hall. This will allow us to offer additional classes in a much bigger facility, with a sprung wooden floor.
However, we will need matting and due to limited storage space the Air Trak P3 mat is an excellent solution.
It can be inflated in 4 minutes and easily stored. It means we can do more advanced skills as well as giving a softer and safer landing for beginners who are learning.
By having better kit, we can expand the classes slightly and potentially offer an extra class to teenagers too. Our goal is to be running 3 classes a week in September for 48 gymnasts, and look to run 5 classes a week starting in 2017 for 80 gymnasts.
Because the mat is transportable, it will allow us to visit schools and use this superb flooring at their facilities and help more pupils who might want to try gymnastics.
"The club is continually growing thanks to the hard working children and parents. We have been supported by many other local organisations, and we have become an integral part of the village and mid Devon.
James Marshall Head Coach."
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