Bosses “confused” over plans for Southport YMCA town centre protest


Photo: Frank Baines and Dan Purvis

Campaigners say they are determined to maintain the quality of coaching at the YMCA gym in Ainsdale, which has produced a series of elite athletes including Daniel Purvis and Frank Baines.

Protesters are asking as many people as possible to join them outside Southport Town Hall at 2pm on Saturday.

Those in charge of the organisation in Southport however say they are looking to resolve any issues.

They released a statement which said:

“As outlined in our statement of Friday 17th July 2015, our Board of Trustees is seeking to meet with the Parents Support Group soon to discuss a way forward for gymnastics provision at our YMCA.

“We’re slightly confused why Saturday’s protest is taking place.

“We’ve listened to stakeholders and stopped our recent staffing consultation in response to the petition on and are planning a meeting with the Parents Support Group in August.

“We respect anyone’s right to protest but we respectfully ask that those people involved in Saturday’s event allow our young people and patrons at our Hoghton Street site to come in and out of the building unencumbered.

“We have a lot of young people who visit our site at the weekend and we don’t want them to feel uncomfortable or intimidated in any way by the presence of the protesters.”

Protestors say their street demonstration is against the proposals to cut working hours for coaches at the YMCA in Ainsdale.

Following a campaign against the plans, the YMCA publicly said they would halt the proposals to cut hours.

The Parents Support Group organising the protest say they are not convinced that these proposals will not be brought back in the near future.

A Parents Support Group spokesperson said: “We have made our requests and suggestions clear but the YMCA have taken no steps to guarantee the provision of high quality gymnastic coaching.

“We have decided to demonstrate our frustration and passion for gymnastics in the most public way possible by taking to the streets.

“Everyone is to meet outside town hall at 2pm on Saturday. The protest is to show the board how passionate we are about this.”

Southport YMCA issued the following statement last week:

“Following the decision by the Chairman and Chief Executive of Southport YMCA to stop the staffing consultation for colleagues in our gymnastics provision, the Board of Trustees has now reflected seriously on the concerns raised by the Parents Support Group and other stakeholders.

“The Board of Trustees is now keen to agree a way forward to give clarity on the situation and will be seeking to engage with the PSG within the coming month to discuss this.

“In the meantime, it is very much ‘business as usual’ and we look forward to welcoming lots of young people to our exciting summer programme at both our Hoghton Street and Segars Lane sites. We’re now working hard to make the final preparations for our autumn term programme for gymnastics starting in September.”


Ainsdale YMCA Gym Club under threat due to changes being made by CEO

Proposals to considerably reduce the contracted hours (by up to 34%) and terms and conditions of coaches, if implemented, will almost certainly result in the club losing its highly qualified and experienced coaches. If this happens Dan Purvis and Frank Baines will be unable to train at their home gymnastics club in the run up to the World Championships and Olympics potentially jeopardising their performance.

Not maintaining the previously high standard of gymnastics coaching at the club will have serious safeguarding implications for the hundreds of competitive and recreational gymnasts who use the club every week.

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