AN award-winning gymnastics coach from South Somerset has indicated her hope that children will be allowed back in the gym as soon as possible, to avoid them suffering from any long-term effects from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week was Children’s Mental Health Week, and Sport England has published its 10-year ‘Uniting the Movement’ strategy, which seeks to get the nation moving again.

But Amy Moulton, who is head coach at Spirit Gymnastics Academy in Yeovil, is more worried about the immediate future.

“For a lot of our gymnasts, the gym is their ‘safe place’,” said Moulton, who was named Young Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching awards in December 2020.

“Creating an atmosphere where the gymnasts can truly be themselves without the pressures of life and school is so important to us.

“I wish for a return to normality every day, for when we can be back in the gym safely as a family. The first competition back is going to be emotional for sure.

“As coaches, we’ve just had to adapt to what the situation has thrown at us, and I’ve been so impressed with the way everyone has taken to it.

"I work with more than 100 squad gymnasts. We have been allowed to do some work in the gym, but sessions are very different to normal.

"As a coach we are unable to physically support, which makes learning new skills in gymnastics significantly harder, while the gymnasts are unable to interact with their friends in the same way they normally would.

“All of this means that lots of them are struggling to see the future in a positive way.

"Although the first lockdown seemed the hardest, the gymnasts all came back with a refreshed motivation and willingness to learn and succeed.

"After the second lockdown, there was more of a ‘what’s the point’ attitude because they were worried they might never get to compete or that we would go into another lockdown.

"Hopefully, we can get back to normality soon and look to the future.”

Moulton, along with the three million coaches keeping the nation active throughout lockdown, will be hoping for good news when the government outlines a return to sports and recreation in the coming weeks.

For now, though, UK Coaching is supporting coaches like Moulton with its Coaching Through Covid Hub; visit its website here for more information.