On 9 May 2016, Christopher Curtis and Derek Kent of SportcheerGB met with members of the Participation Team at British Gymnastics Headquarters in Lilleshall. After that meeting we were introduced to and spoke with British Gymnastics’ CEO, Jane Allen. What follows is a public statement agreed by everyone at the meeting:
“The meeting was friendly, open and mutually helpful. We discussed the relationship between cheerleading and gymnastics as distinct sports which draw on some common skills, and the current priorities of our organisations. In particular, we discussed the new “add-on” module in cheerleading which British Gymnastics is offering only to its Level 2 qualified coaches in specific disciplines, and its plans to incorporate some cheerleading into its local “Gymnastics for All” competition structure. We discussed SportcheerGB’s work on training and qualification standards and the steps it is taking to be recognised as the single independent body representing all those involved in cheerleading in the UK.
In line with government strategy, British Gymnastics is keen to increase participation and especially to keep more of the 11+ age group involved. It is supporting clubs in broadening the range of gymnastics-related activities offered and wants clubs to be able to offer some cheerleading activities alongside freestyle, group gymnastics and other initiatives, but always as part of a gymnastics programme. The new add-on-module and competition offer will provide BG clubs with a comprehensive programme which will be exclusively delivered within registered British Gymnastics environments.
We all recognised the contribution that British Gymnastics registered coaches already make to cheerleading clubs and welcomed the many athletes who were involved in cheerleading and gymnastics. We shared the aims of increasing participation and improving performance in both sports, for the benefit of all and SportcheerGB wished continued success to the add-on module and to an increase in the number of gymnasts who could experience high-quality cheerleading activity within their sport.”