IT’S well documented that the coronavirus lockdown has hit all sections of communities very hard, none more so than the grassroots sports sector, writes Ethan Davies.

And one particularly popular activity in the town is gymnastics – with Howley-based Warrington Gymnastics Club boasting more than 1,200 members.

However, that hasn’t stopped the club keeping the wheels turning before they plan to open their doors at the end of July or early August to smaller sessions.

Mandi Mellor, the operations manager of the club, admitted the past few months have been ‘strange and challenging’, but that hasn’t stopped the team keeping contact with their members.

The club are now hosting their sessions online, with everything from dance classes, training sessions, and physiotherapy rehabilitation lessons all being featured for free on the club’s YouTube channel.

Those sessions have now been extended, with each gymnastics class now receiving training via Zoom, as well as one-on-one mentoring.

Mellor, 48, added: “We’ve always tried to create a family within the gym, and we’ve tried to do that in lockdown.

“The club is a huge part of childrens’ lives. They are getting content for themselves online constantly.”

Mellor also had a message to the parents involved with the club, saying: “The parents have financially supported us throughout this.

“They’ve been great. They’ve kept the coaches going as well who have had to take a step back – it’s been difficult for them, too.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”

The club are also hoping to capitalise on the popularity of fitness YouTubers during the lockdown among youngsters, by developing a programme of basic skills for new members to learn.

To any prospective members, Mellor finished by saying: “It’s a great way to keep fit, and builds up that spirit of being part of something.”