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May 23, 2021

Eclipse Looking To The Future

COVID-19 has left its mark upon community sports clubs across the UK.

One of the clubs to have felt the detrimental effects of the global pandemic is Eclipse Gymnastics.

Based in Locks Heath, Hampshire, the club was founded by sport enthusiasts Lesley Davis and Laura Paynton.

Ex-gymnasts themselves, the duo set up Eclipse Gymnastics in an effort to share their knowledge and sporting experiences with the next generation.

And after the sport gave so much to her, Lesley is eager to give back to the children in her local community.

“As a child I was quite sporty and gymnastics was the one sport that I really excelled in,” she said.

“Gymnastics gave me the confidence to do anything and everything, including academic work.

“I wasn’t the brightest child at school, but gymnastics gave me the confidence to say ‘I don’t know this but I’m going to give it a go’.

“Because of gymnastics, my confidence and social skills grew immensely and I now want to share that with our kids. I want to build up their confidence and encourage them to try new things.

“I want these children to feel wanted and loved so that they can enjoy what they want to do. Encouragement is a big thing for us.”

Eclipse Gymnastics aims to give children the chance to develop their physical and social skills in an inclusive environment.

And while the club provides a number of opportunities to the children in their local community, Lesley admits that she wants to increase the clubs reach further, to ensure that no child is left behind.

“Because we’re operating across multiple different venues, there are a number of designated classes we can’t run,” Lesley explained.

“For example, we can’t run classes for children who have ADHD.

“Children with ADHD need to be in a structured environment because they can experience sensory overload if they aren’t. A sensory overload can occur if a child with ADHD is put into unfamiliar surroundings that they’re unable to process.

“All the places that we use have, for example, different posters up around their facilities and they’re always changing so the environment isn’t a structured one for kids with ADHD.

“Additionally, we’d also like to be in a position where we can run more disability gymnastics classes too but we currently don’t have the facilities to do so.

“We’re an inclusive club and we want to be able to provide facilities for all the kids in our local area.”

This week, Olympic, World and Commonwealth medallist Kristian Thomas spoke to GiveToLocal to explain how important grassroots gymnastics can be to kids across the UK.

And after finding out about the organisations through Facebook, Lesley has already signed herself up to one of GiveToLocal’s new interactive webinars, which she hopes will help the club plan for the future.

“I found out about GiveToLocal after seeing it on social media,” she added.

“I had a good read of some of the posts that had come up on my feed and I just started doing a bit more research.

“Then I saw some posts encouraging people to sign up for a webinar which would explain how GiveToLocal could help our club. We’re primarily focussed upon supporting and teaching our kids.

“But if we want to progress as a club, we’ve got to take that next step – we’ve got to find additional streams of income to help us grow because we’ve got so many ideas of what we want to do and where we want to go.

“We have to learn how to further and better our club. That’s something GiveToLocal can help us with.”

And while Lesley admits that COVID-19 was a shock to the system for both her and Eclipse Gymnastics, she is determined to not let coronavirus define the future of the club.

“I’m still looking forward,” she said.

“For me, the goal for us is to grow our club so it’s as inclusive as possible. We’ve got our plans and I’m sure we will get there.

“I’m not going to let coronavirus beat us. It’s not going to stop us.”