Salto are the only gymnastics club in NI to achieve Olympic Holding Camp Status and have secured the Chinese Olympic WAG and MAG team for their final preparations for London 2012. We received significant media coverage which resulted in increased waiting lists. To cope with this demand we opened a new satellite club ‘Salto Central’ at our local primary school Lisburn Central in January 2012. Plans are already underway to further extend our facility with an extension to the building in 2014.
In 2007 we developed a large scale talent ID programme. Every two years we visit 50 primary schools within a 20 mile radius. We offer free taster sessions to P1 & P2 pupils to introduce more children to the sport and to find new talent for our performance development programmes. We invite 200 boys and girls to Salto for further testing and from our selection we create new development squads. The children not selected for squad are offered a place in our recreation programme.
In 2011 we started our first Sports Acrobatics class and developed our Gym Fusion Team. Our coaches currently completing their coaching awards to develop the acrobatics squad further.
Through our range of programmes we offer gymnastics activity for everyone. We have created opportunities for our performance gymnasts to move into the Salto gym fusion display team, sports acrobatics or undertake level 1 coaching awards. This ensures our gymnasts can make smooth transitions from one discipline to another at the same facility within the same gymnastics family. Our Elite WAG and MAG squads have the opportunity to be selected for Celtic Cup, Northern Europeans, Europeans, Worlds, Youth Olympics, UKSG and Commonwealth Games. We are the only gym club in Northern Ireland to be represented at all these events.
We have an excellent relationship with our local City Council in Lisburn who provided the land for the facility and were instrumental in our bid to become an Olympic Training camp. Our Club won the Lisburn Sports Club of the year in 2011. In addition to our satellite club in the local primary school, we have excellent links with schools in NI with 25 schools regularly taking part in gymnastics classes at Salto throughout each week of the school year. In addition we work with local education providers (FE and HE) in the provision of training, coach mentoring, employment and work experience for their students
2000 people use our facility every week through schools, parent and toddlers, classes and squads. We have over 1200 current British Gymnastics members and over 200 members of Gymnastics Ireland.
We are the first club in Northern Ireland to be awarded junior gold club mark and are currently working towards the new Gym Mark programme with British Gymnastics and Sport NI.
At a cost of nearly £1.5m the all new purpose built gymnastics training facility opened in January 2007. It has been the dream of Director Tony Byrne who started the Salto Gymnastics Club over 20 years ago who summed up the journey:
“It has been a long journey to get this far, but a first class facility alone does not make a champion a system does. We now have all the pieces of this system eventually coming together world class coaches, time, an excellent facility and of course the talented individuals. We have given fun and enjoyment to many children and produced many great gymnasts the future is bright and I extend our thanks to Sports Council Northern Ireland and Lisburn City Council.”
We have great plans for improving significantly the level of gymnastics competance throughout Ireland and the new gym is just the start. The new state of the art facility is jointly funded by Salto, Sports Council NI and the City of Lisburn. It is the biggest and most well equipped gymnastics academy in Ireland with coaches of the highest quality and calibre.