Wow…where did my first year here at the Academy go? I would like to take this opportunity to provide you all with an update on the building works, a brief review of 2016 and the direction the Academy is heading in 2017 and beyond.
The Academy is now the sole tenant of the building and we are in the process of securing an initial, five-year lease with the Council. Since the closure of the leisure centre, contactors have been on site making the necessary amendments to provide us with a new entrance and access to our space, which will also include use of a couple of rooms within the centre.
Building works are due to be completed by the middle of March, however I am unable to provide you with an estimated date of when our access will be made available for use. In the meantime, please do continue to use the stairs and pathway up to our main entrance and feel free to wait upstairs in the hallway next to our offices.
My arrival has coincided with a few staff leaving for pastures new, alongside an influx of talented and motivated individuals who have gelled together remarkably well to create the exciting team that we can all be hugely proud of. The Academy has also grown from within, investing in two promotions from zero hours’ contracts to full time salaried positions, which is a large shift in mind set for any sporting club.
Our coaching team have been supported for the first time in their quest to upskill, with many of the team making use of the new Academy initiative for funding towards coaching courses. Last year saw several qualifications gained at the introductory level, continuing through to the pinnacle of High Performance, which has provided the members with an even greater level of coaching and expertise.
The Academy had enjoyed major success at every level of competition throughout 2016, boasting a European Champion, 2 Team GB representatives in Rio, the Junior British Team Champions, as well as many more medallists at a National, Regional and County level. Participation levels have increased within our Gymnastics for All discipline, providing more opportunities for development at the grass roots level, with a highlight for the discipline being; the inaugural “In House” Gfa competition which saw over 230 members participating.
The growth in membership has also seen the Academy strive to achieve a more conducive ratio of athlete: coach levels, for the participants to fulfil their own levels of potential throughout the various disciplines, whilst creating progressive pathways for entry and exits from each of our sessions/ disciplines.
The careful and strategic expansion continued with the introduction of our new satellite club at the Rushcliffe Arena where participants receive an introduction to the sport before becoming full members of the Academy. Creating a larger talent pool to select from within, is a key priority for the Academy moving forward, whilst maximising the opportunities for all involved to continue loving their time in this wonderful sport.
The Academy has invested heavily on the equipment front, providing our Athletes with a truly world class facility and we are looking to invest again this year to create a useable space within the sports hall. Expansion is needed to offset the increased overheads involved with the sole tenancy agreement, however the new sessions will take place over a weekend, providing extra room on a week night for warm ups and physical preparation to take place.
Charity status within 2017 is a major objective for our hard working and dedicated members of the Board. Discussions and enquiries into the process have progressed very positively and we are hopeful that an announcement can be made during the summer months, resulting in another huge step forward for the Academy.
I would like to finish with a note of thanks to the entire membership and wider stakeholders, whom without your support, the Academy simply wouldn’t be as thriving as it is today. Whilst we are some way away from being the finished article, the team and I will continue to do our very best to continue the positive, upwards trends in each area and service that we provide.