New initiative is providing a springboard for children to lead a healthier lifestyle

Written by on 31st July 2018

Children from across Sunderland are feeling the benefits of increased physical activity after the launch of a new initiative at a local leisure centre.

Max Whitlock Gymnastics launched at Washington Leisure Centre, which is managed by Everyone Active in partnership with Sunderland City Council, earlier this summer, and the sessions are already proving a success among the local community.

The initiative between Everyone Active and double Olympic Gold medallist, Max Whitlock MBE aims to get more young people healthy and active by offering them access to fun, engaging gymnastics sessions. Through their partnership, Everyone Active and Max Whitlock MBE have pledged to get one million children engaged in gymnastics by 2022.

More than 60 children are already enjoying the hourly sessions each week at Washington Leisure Centre, which take place on Wednesdays from 4pm-6pm and Saturdays from 9.30am – 12.30pm.

Six-year old Lucy Latimer’s mum Lauren, said: “Lucy’s confidence has grown so much since she started attending Max Whitlock Gymnastics sessions at Washington, and she loves coming each week.”

Each structured session provides children the chance to develop and perfect their skills as they progress. They will have the opportunity to try their hand on a number of apparatus and take part in fun and exciting activities set by Max and his elite coach wife, Leah, who has also been instrumental in the setup of the scheme.

Britains most successful gymnast, Olympic Gold Medallist Max Whitlock, at Washington Leisure Centre, on Wednesday, to launch his Gymnastic Academy.

Six-year old Stelah Wilson’s mum, Sarah, said: “Stelah has been coming for three weeks and is really enjoying it. So much so, she has been practicing at home and showing people what she has been learning.”

The partnership between the two came about as a result of Max’s long-standing relationship with the leisure operator. He has trained at Everyone Active’s Basildon Sporting Village from a young age, and has also been heavily involved in the Everyone Active Sporting Champions scheme, a support programme for talented athletes, for the past three years.

Max led the sessions at Washington Leisure Centre when the programme launched earlier this summer, and spoke to guests about the importance of providing access to high-quality gymnastics, as well as the benefits of introducing children to the sport at a younger age.

He said: “I am delighted to have teamed up with Everyone Active to ensure that more young people are given the opportunity to enjoy the sport. The programme will provide a fantastic foundation for children to enjoy entry-level gymnastics and improve their skills in exciting and structured weekly sessions.”

Everyone Active’s Activities & Funding Manager, Chris Duncan, said: “We are proud to partner with Max Whitlock to deliver exciting gymnastic sessions to children across the city. The sessions are already proving a great success, and it is great to see children have so much fun each week, while getting active.

“I would encourage anyone who is looking to enrol their child in gymnastics to visit the centre and speak with our colleagues to find out more about this brilliant scheme.”

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