Future of popular Ripon Gymnastics Academy remains unclear

Ian Kendall (right) with some of the gymnasts at the academy
Ian Kendall (right) with some of the gymnasts at the academy

The future of Ripon Gymnastics Academy remains unclear after Harrogate Borough Council confirmed that a limited number of classes were set to resume.

Hundreds of disappointed gymnasts were left searching for answers this month after being told that “staffing issues” had caused the hugely popular classes to be put on temporary hold.

However, on Friday, Harrogate Borough Council confirmed that beginner and intermediate gymnastic sessions at Ripon Leisure centre were to resume on Saturday.

Despite the reinstatement of these classes, the council refused to confirm when the gymnastic squad sessions would resume as a result of “operational service issues”.

Parent Ian Kendall said he’s become “frustrated” after sending numerous emails to senior councillors asking why his eight-year-old daughter’s classes had been delayed.

He said: “The council seem to be ignoring us. They do not seem to be prepared to come out and tell us what’s going on, it’s all very cloak and daggers.

“I find it incredible that they have got themselves into a position where they can’t resolve this issue and the people that are suffering are the 350 children.

“The situation needs sorting out. We have had parents being told to go and look for other clubs but that’s not particularly easy to do.

“We squeeze this in after school among their other activities and the other classes are in Harrogate and Thirsk which have long waiting lists.

“It would make life easier if they gave an honest answer.”

Coun Stan Lumley, cabinet member for Culture and Sport said they could not start classes in September as planned because they could not “guarantee the availability of fully qualified staff”.

He said: “We understand that the young gymnasts will be disappointed by this - as we are - and we are doing are utmost to address this as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately, we are not yet in a position to restart the more advanced gymnastic squad classes. We are currently looking at how we can recommence these classes as a matter of urgency and will be keeping gymnasts who have been affected informed of developments.

“We are committed to providing a first class gymnastics programme for young people in Ripon and the surrounding area and we would like to apologise for the delay in starting the term and would like to thank our gymnasts and their parents for their patience in this matter.”