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South Essex Gymnastics Club

South Essex Gymnastics Club was formed with the amalgamation of Basildon, Castle Point and Magna Carta Gymnastics Clubs.

The original premises were constructed in 1992 at a cost of some £300k. This was made possible through a huge fund raising effort over several years plus loans and grants – mainly from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, and the Sports Council.

In 1993 a full time Manager Rod Smith was employed and this soon led to an expansion of the gymnastics programme.
Rod Smith (Head Women’s Coach), Jeff Davis (Head Men’s Coach) and Verity Adams (Head Rhythmic Coach) continued to coach the Club’s elite gymnasts bringing continued success over the next decade with gymnasts from the Club representing Great Britain at European, Commonwealth, World Championships and the Olympic Games.  These included Natasha Hibbitt who competed at the Commonwealth Games in Rhythmic Gymnastics and Annika Reeder was selected to attend the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games along with another SEGC gymnast - Paula Thomas.  Nicola Willis was selected to participate in the World Championships in 2003 & the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.  Danny Lawrence was selected as Reserve for the World Championships in 2003 Anaheim, USA and in 2002 Dave Massam began a 5 year consecutive streak of being British Rings Champion. Dave went on to compete at numerous World Cup events and competed on Rings at the 2004 and 2005 European Championships and the 2004 World Cup Final in Birmingham. During this period the new generation of rising stars such as Leah Hickton, Brinn Bevan, Anthony Wise and others were already producing impressive results!

This success resulted in an expansion of all aspects of gymnastic activity and ultimately a substantial increase in demand for places.

In time it became apparent that the only way to satisfy this demand was to extend the facility. Plans for a major extension were drawn up and outline planning permission was granted by Basildon Council. However, these plans were put on hold in 2002, so that joint discussions could proceed on the possibility of the club moving into the proposed Basildon Sporting Village on the Gloucester Park site, at the opposite end of Cranes Farm Road.

 In 2006, the Club was offered the opportunity to lease a second building on its site that had been run by the Basildon Sports Council. The Club applied for funding assistance to specialize in the provision of equipment for those with special needs and to expand the recreation programme. The equipment was funded by grants from the Cleanaway Veolia Trust and the Jack Petchey Foundation: the Club paid some £60k for the building renovation on the basis of a minimum 5 year lease which was expected to terminate with its move into the Basildon Sporting Village. This expansion was seen as the opportunity to try and expand the range of classes on offer and the open new areas of gymnastics opportunities in advance of the move to Gloucester Park.

Special needs classes were offered to local schools and these have continued ever since. This was followed by the development of new services for adult gymnastics and then freestyle classes -initially for adults and then also for younger gymnasts. Links were also built with schools through the appointment of a coach who worked with local schools to train and facilitate improved coaching by school staff.

At the same time our high level gymnastic successes continued as in 2006 Danny Lawrence competed at the European Championships in Volos, Greece & the World Championship in Aarhus, Denmark. In 2010 Danny Lawrence, Max Whitlock and Reiss Beckford were all selected to the team representing GB at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. Danny was further selected to Captain this 5 man team of which 3 athletes all came from SEGC.

Rod Smith left the Club in 2008/2009 and Scott Hann was appointed by the Trustees as Director of Coaching, also overseeing the day to day management of the Club, supported by a team of Head Coaches for each gymnastics discipline.

In 2011, after working closely with Basildon Council, the Club moved into the new facilities designed jointly by the Club’s coaches and by Continental Sports at Basildon Sporting Village.

The Club provided almost £100k of its own funds towards this investment and this was supplemented by grants from English Gymnastics and the Cleanaway Veolia Trust.

In conjunction with British Gymnastics and SLM – the operators of the Sporting Village – the Club has hosted an international competition between GB and Spain.

The Club was awarded official “pre-games training venue” status by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and in 2012 hosted competitors from several international teams including Ireland, Holland, New Zealand, Austria, Guatemala, Czech Republic, and Japan.

The Club’s very own Max Whitlock was first selected to be part of the GB European Team in 2012 which took the Team Gold Medal.  Max then went on to join the British Men’s Gymnastics Team at the London Olympic Games 2012. The London Games proved to be the most successful Games ever for GB Men’s Gymnastics, with the winning of the Bronze Olympic Team Medal and the Bronze Olympic Individual Medal for Max in the Pommel Horse Finals.

When the South Essex Gymnastics Club (SEGC) was formed, the Charities Commission agreed to modify and transfer the charitable status of the Castle Point Olympic Gymnastics Club to SEGC.

In 2009 South Essex Gymnastics Club Ltd, a private company was established and registered as a charity.
[Company number 6882268, Registered charity number 1129701]

As a charitable company the Club’s general direction is managed through an Executive Board that has six (unpaid) trustees, many of whom have previously coached gymnastics but who are now able to bring their varied professional expertise to the benefit of the Club.

The day to day running is of the Club is through the Director of Coaching who now carries professional responsibility for all Head Coaches of the various disciplines.

South Essex Gymnastics Club is committed to providing recreational, coaching and competitive opportunities in gymnastics to all levels and abilities, and to all sections of the community, in a safe, friendly and fun environment, encouraging all gymnasts to maximize their potential in the sport, whether that’s once a week or as an international competing gymnast.

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