IN the space of just three years, Carterton Gymnastics Club have gone from hosting classes in a rented school hall to opening their own purpose-built facility.

And now the club has been shortlisted for the Community Club of the Year prize at the British Gymnastics Awards.

This shortlist applies to clubs with more than 250 members.

Carterton Gymnastics Club operated for over two decades with waiting lists as long as 500 people but after years of fundraising from their tireless team of parents and volunteers, the club now boasts more than 650 members.

Despite its growth in 2022, the club has not lost its family ethos or emphasis on gymnastics for all – and director Susan Marsham believes that is why they have been recognised on a national level.

"We formed a team of parents and volunteers and opening a purpose-built facility has been three years in the making," said Mrs Marsham, 37, from Reading.

"There were so many highs and lows where we thought we would get funding, then we didn't, then we did.

"We came across all these different problems, but we have now been open for two years and to walk in and feel the buzz when all the children are in and the pre-school is going on, it's just amazing.

"I think we deserve to be shortlisted because it has been such a community effort to get this club to be the success that it is.

"Previously the club was running from a school hall that we hired by the hour.

"All the equipment was kept in a container and we just relied on parents arriving early to the class, putting all the mats down and chaining the bars down.

"It was just such a limit because we had 500 people on a waiting list at any one time."

The British Gymnastics Awards are community-led and about championing those who make the sport an uplifting experience for all, with more nominations than ever before coming in this year.

The nominations have been judged by panels made up of British Gymnastics committee members and external panellists from across UK Sport, Gymnova, Milano, Gymaid, Youth Sport Trust, Sport England, Women in Sport, The Include Summit, Sport and Recreation Alliance, The Sport for Development Coalition and GB gymnasts.

Mrs Marsham added: "We had competitive gymnasts who were limited in how far they could go because of the facilities, and we had recreational gymnasts who were constantly trying to get into classes.

"We just could not meet that need. We had different groups contacting us to ask if we could provide classes for schools and we just did not have any facility."

For more information on the British Gymnastics Awards  go to

By Jonny Bray, Sportsbeat