COACHES from Huntingdon’s celebrated gymnastics club will soon be teaching classes at leisure centres across the district – giving hundreds youngsters with potential the opportunity to emulate the success of Louis Smith.

The team behind Louis’s success at the last two Olympic Games have been in talks with management at Huntingdonshire District Council, which is keen for the club to run classes at its chain of One Leisure centres.

Tracy Crosland, chairman of the gym’s trustees, said it would open the club up to more members, who would benefit from the club’s world-class training closer to home.

Tracy said: “We’re on a big drive to satisfy demand. We have been speaking to HDC about running classes in their leisure centres. They are quite keen to put some of our classes on.

“The idea has gone down really well – lots of parents are really enthusiastic about it as not everyone can get into Huntingdon. All those children will be members of the club and will progress through the system as any other members would.”

Plans are also afoot to extend their free end-of-term sessions for youngsters whose families might not otherwise be able to afford training, while rescheduling the club’s timetable could free up time for more classes.

The gym is currently on a major fundraising drive to raise funds for its long-awaited extension. As reported in The Hunts Post in July, the club has finally secured planning permission for its much-needed second hall. While a “significant grant” has been secured from British Gymnastics, it is dependent on the club securing the rest of the funds.

Tracy said: “We have got lots of funding applications in and we are looking at loans. We’re scrabbling around for £400,000 – more than a few raffles!”

She added: “Unless we make significant progress, British Gymnastics would have to reconsider the grant.

“This is what happened last time, which makes it more depressing. If you don’t get the certainty on all the money, the first grants start dropping off, although we have to say that British Gymnastics has been immensely supportive.”