A GYMNASTICS club is developing a “world class” training complex after coming up with a new business model.
Olympus Gymnastics, which will triple in size when it moves into much larger facility on Llay Industrial Estate later this year, has been praised as a “real jewel” by a Government Minister.
The move will allow the club to develop world class facilities and become an official performance hub for the region capable of staging national events.
The expansion plan will also enable the club to further boost its already thriving membership.
Welsh Gymnastics, Wales Cooperative and Coxey’s, one of North Wales’ leading accountancy firms, assisted the club to switch from being a simple business partnership to a Limited Company by Guarantee operating as a social enterprise, a model that is becoming more familiar for gymnastics clubs across Wales.
Olympus’s sparkling performance to date and its vision for the future were celebrated during a visit to the club’s current Miners Road base by the Welsh Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates AM, who described the young members who performed a series of dazzling gymnastic routines for him as “utterly inspirational”.
The club was founded in 2012 by husband and wife Julie and Paul Edwards who are both highly qualified gymnastics coaches. Paul is also an international judge for the sport.
Julie explained: “Olympus was originally based out of two venues in Wrexham – the school gym at Darland and Rhosnesni high schools.”
“About a year later we moved to our present club facility on Llay Industrial Estate but although it has 5,000 square feet of space for the gymnasts to use we’ve outgrown it.
“We now have over 450 members, aged from 18 months old to young adults, who mainly come from the local area but we also have a few who travel from as far away as Manchester and Conwy.”
Julie added: “We were at full capacity and it was a case of too many members and not enough room, so that’s why we decided to look for something larger.”
“We’ve now arranged to move into a much bigger industrial unit just 500 metres along Miners Road where we’ll have 15,000 square feet of space rather than 5,000 and also room to put in a lot more equipment, including full women’s and men’s artistic apparatus with an area for pits and trampolines.
“In fact, all the equipment will be world class standard and our aim is to become a real performance hub for our sport in North Wales.
“To do all this we needed to change the structure of our business to become Limited Company by Guarantee operating as a social enterprise which means it will be easier to access grants than when Paul and I were just a partnership.
“The expertise of Coxeys came through a family link with club by one of the firm’s directors, Anthony Lewis, who said: “Both my sons, nine-year-old Bob and Ted, seven, are keen gymnasts and had trained with Olympus, which is how I got to know Julie and Paul.”
“Over the past six months my team and I have been advising them on their transfer from a partnership to a Limited Company by Guarantee and the financial stability of the club.
“One of the benefits of doing this will come in terms of exemption from VAT. They will also find it much easier to get external funding such as grants which they will need for their expansion plans for the future.
“The club now has four directors, Julie and Paul Edwards, along with local business leaders Michelle Lewis and Marco Abbiati.
“The club is doing very well and there’s lots of potential for growth when they move into their new facility, which should be in about six to nine months’ time.”
“This has been a real success story and the club has become a shining example for sporting organisations in the Wrexham area.
“We at Coxeys are proud to have been associated with them and they certainly deserve to have recognition for what they have achieved with a visit from the Deputy Minister who has been able to see they are helping to look after the future health of the country.”
After watching some of the club’s most promising young gymnasts perform a series of intricate routines, Ken Skates said: “This is a fantastic club, which is a real jewel of North Wales.
“It is one of the greatest centres for young people to get physically active and to take on a performance pathway in sport that will eventually lead them to the Commonwealth Games and beyond.
“Some of the young people are utterly inspirational and no doubt we’ll see them competing at the highest level and possibly the Olympic Games one day.
“They are also inspiring their peers to take up gymnastics and to be physically active, so it’s great for the community.”
One of the young Olympus stars who went through his stylish paces for Mr Skates was 12-year-old Jacob Edwards from Gresford who will be in the Isle of Man in April to compete in the Men’s Artistic Celtic Cup and defend the Under 14s All-Around title that he won at the same event last year.
He is also on the long list to compete at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in South Africa.
Jacob, who attends Darland High School in Rossett, said: “The training and encouragement I’ve had from Julie and Paul have helped me to achieve all I have so far and I hope to go on to the Commonwealth Games in a few years’ time.”
Victoria Jones, Special Projects Manager for Welsh Gymnastics, who was also on hand for the Deputy Minister’s visit, said: “Welsh Gymnastics has identified the Olympus Club as one of six projects in North and West Wales and its new facility in Llay as a performance hub for North Wales.
“The club has ambitious expansion plans and the exceptional coaching credentials of Julie and Paul Edwards will assist them through this. Paul is also one of only two brevet judges in Wales, which means he is qualified to judge at the very highest level in gymnastics such as the Commonwealth and European Games and the World Cups.
“They have made fantastic progress to date and their plans for the future are very exciting.”
For more details about Olympus, call 01978 447600 or 07840 119989, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org