Basingstoke Gymnastics Club
Basingstoke Gymnastic Club was founded in the late 1960’s by the Hillier family, primarily to provide a fun sporting environment for young girls. The club was based in the then new Sports Centre in the middle of Basingstoke and operated from the cricket gallery on the fourth floor, as this was the only area which allowed for storage of equipment. The gallery, approximately 40 x 10 metres was not ideal for gymnastics.
The club soon incorporated a Boys section and expanded up to a total membership of approximately 75 after 10 years all run and coached by volunteers. At this time the club almost folded as a large number of members and coaches split away and joined other clubs with better facilities. A new body of adults joined the coaching team and they became the driving force for the growth and development of the club.
The idea of obtaining premises more suitable for gymnastics had been discussed from the late 70’s and considerable effort was put into fund raising to facilitate such a move. The club also began to establish links with Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council (B&DC) although at that time sport and leisure was a very low profile part of their services.
In September 1986 B&DC facilitated a move to Beechdown Sports & Leisure Club to cope with the club’s expansion. The club used the Badminton Hall which was heated by 8 domestic radiators, with equipment stored in a purpose built extension, part funded by B&DC. Training took place for 3 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Friday and 5 hours on Saturday with the Club’s first pre-school classes started in the daytime.
In 1989 the club gained its first serious competitive result by training a National Intermediate Champion. In 1990 this was follow by training the National Intermediate Runner Up. By this time membership had increased to 270.
By 1992 membership had reached 350 with a turnover £20,000 per annum and the club took the decision to appoint its first professional paid coach. Until this point all coaching and administration had been totally voluntary enabling the Club to save a substantial building fund.
In 1993 the club moved to a 14,000 sq. ft. industrial unit on Kempshott Park Industrial Estate to the rear of Basingstoke Golf Club. A seven year lease was negotiated; this was later extended twice to early 2006. The building had a simple refurbishment carried out, part funded by B&DC. B&DC also contributed to the substantial rent bill with revenue funding.
In 1993 the club became a registered charity and in 1994 the club became Basingstoke Amateur Gymnastic Club Ltd before being renamed to Basingstoke Gymnastic Club in 1995. By 1995 the club had 708 members.
A further refurbishment of Kempshott Park was carried out with £50,000 of support from B&DC and a further £39,000 coming from the club and other charities.
In 2003 BGC successfully bid for the lease on the redundant ITEC training centre in Stephenson Road from B&DC. B&DC allocated £600,000 of capital funding to pay for the refurbishment and in 2004 BGC gained a capital grant from Sport England and obtained further funding of over £1 million towards the refurbishment costs. In July 2005 work started on the Active Life Centre incorporating a 1176sqm Gymnastics Hall, 2 bespoke dance studios, toilets, changing facilities & showers, offices and reception.
This was opened in February 2006 bringing,some of the best facilities in the South East of England to Basingstoke.
In 2008 membership of the gymnastic facility had increased from 850 to a maximum of nearly 1500.