Wanaka’s growing gymnastics club is on the search for a long-term place to call home for its hundreds of members.
Aspiring Gymsports moved to its Reece Crescent premises nearly two years ago, having nearly tripled its membership from 90 to 220 in less than the two years previous to that.
In the last three months, the club has seen 330 people through its classes, outgrowing its current premises.
“The club has evolved massively and many people don’t realise how big it is. We can’t have a club display because we can’t fit everybody in the building,” said coach and founding member Rae Paterson.
“Our gym has a disadvantage from the start as there is nowhere to have competitions here, so the kids and parents have to travel, paying for petrol and accommodation. The kids are doing really well so we know we’re on the right track with our training programmes, we just need our own building.”
Rae said that Aspiring Gymsports was the only main club that she knew of in Wanaka that hadn’t been subsidised or received some sort of benefit from the council.
“We have just as many, if not more, members than the soccer club and we go all year round. Gymnastics is a basic foundation of sport and everyone needs to have access to it, not just the people that can afford it,” Rae said.
Rae added that meeting with Wanaka Community Board and Queenstown Lakes District Council to investigate further options would be its next step.
Club treasurer Tim Bennett said that its ethos had always been to keep fees as low as possible, to encourage community participation.
“The problem is we’re a not-for-profit group currently in a commercial building, which won’t work in the long-term. If our rent were to be raised to full commercial rates, it would have a massive impact on fees and would hugely impact our membership,” Tim said.
“We really need our own facility and fixed equipment to secure the long-term future of the club.”
Tim said that the club was currently looking at several options but the preferred choice would be to build a dedicated facility on public land, with the club having the option to own the building in the long-term.
The club is raising funds to go towards a new premises at a movie night in its current Reece Crescent building from 6 to 8pm on Saturday September 9.
Pictured: The club’s squad who competed at last year’s Southland Gymnastics Championships. Photo: Rebecca Emmerson Photography
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