British Gymnastics Letter to Rt Hon. Boris Johnson MP

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Today we issued a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to provide a date for when gymnastics facilities will reopen.

Dear Prime Minister,

I was encouraged by your comments on radio station LBC this morning that you are working to reopen gyms ‘in a couple of weeks’.

This appears to be great news for the gymnastics community who have been working very hard to be ready to reopen in a Covid-19 safe environment.

Our members would appreciate, however, absolute clarity that the ‘mid-July reopening’ to which you refer will include gymnastics clubs and not only the gym and fitness industry.

Our members also require a clear date as to when they are able to resume the delivery of gymnastics – a sport which is a key activity for children and young people. Over the past two months, British Gymnastics has worked with Sport England and your government departments to provide all the information required to permit indoor sports facilities to reopen.

We have worked with your representatives to adapt our sport to allow a safe resumption of gymnastics. You have all the information to make the decision to allow the sport to resume immediately in a safe and sensible fashion.

I would like to place on record my thanks for the support that your government has offered to gymnastics clubs during the pandemic. Initiatives such as grants, and the Job Retention Scheme have been a lifeline to many clubs. This has been a necessary and hugely welcomed measure. Thank you.

Now our clubs are ready to help you to ‘open-up’ communities and engage children in healthy activity. Please let us do our job and allow us to play our part in Britain’s recovery from the pandemic.

Gymnastics is a community sport that exists to keep children and young people active. Over one million children and young people regularly take part in gymnastics all over the UK – however there is a great deal of confusion within the sport as to when these vital community clubs can resume participating in gymnastics activity.

There is a growing feeling of anxiety and concern from our 1500 club members as to when they can resume indoor gymnastics classes. This is not only an issue for gymnastics in England but for all home nations. We want to do the right thing and help play our part in opening up communities, but we need absolute clarity to provide to our participants.

My urgent request to you is to provide us with a clear and definitive date when gymnastics clubs and facilities can reopen.

As you are very aware, many children are unable to attend school during the pandemic and, while I have no doubt that the schools are doing all they can to provide online learning resources, children are missing their friends and this will be impacting on their social development and mental health.

Some children are lucky enough to be back at school – but many, many more are still at home. Children need to be active and they need to interact with their peer group for their development.

Gymnastics clubs will provide opportunities for young people to reconnect across the summer, in a safe and sensible manner. Traditionally gymnastics clubs have been a vital resource and prime deliverer of activity for children in the school summer holidays. There is confusion amongst our members as to whether they can reopen in July and offer this valuable community service. If they are not permitted to reopen, many children will be disadvantaged, and some clubs face the very real prospect of closing forever.

Prime Minister, I appreciate that there are tough decisions for government to take as we ease the necessary restrictions created by Covid-19, however, we can be part of the solution. Many of our clubs and partners are ready to resume providing gymnastics sessions for children all across the country. They have all the relevant information and protocols to do this safely.

Please allow us to help you create a healthier nation which has the activity of young people at its heart.

Jane Allen MBE
Chief Executive Officer

British Gymnastics – British Gymnastics

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