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Norwich gym club takes fight to front door of Number 10 Downing Street

PUBLISHED: 09:40 13 January 2012

Some of the members, staff and supporters of Chermond Gym Club with their petition that will be delivered to the Prime Minister at the beginning of February appealing for the group to be found a permanent home to serve youngsters from the community. Pictured in the Club's current venue at City Academy on Earlham Road. Photo: Steve Adams

Some of the members, staff and supporters of Chermond Gym Club with their petition that will be delivered to the Prime Minister at the beginning of February appealing for the group to be found a permanent home to serve youngsters from the community. Pictured in the Club's current venue at City Academy on Earlham Road. Photo: Steve Adams

Archant

The fight to find Chermond Gym Club a home has stepped up as leaders and supporters have been given a date by Downing Street for their march on the capital.

As reported, supporters of the club had planned to hand a petition in at Number 10, and have now been told February 6 is when police will greet them at the gates and the doorman will receive them.

The club works with youngsters from low-income areas, teaching circus skills and gymnastics. It has been moved many times and now faces becoming homeless.

It recently had a bid to turn a long unused warehouse on Whiffler Road into a training venue turned down by Norwich City Council. This has angered supporters, who claim the club provides young people with far more than just a hobby.

But the council yesterday revealed it feared the warehouse would not be safe.

Club founder Cherie Alcock, of Peckover Road, said: “We want recognition from the government: they are constantly saying what should happen in the community, and here is a group who offer everything they say young people should have. You’d think there would be support.” The club trains at City Academy, on Earlham Road, which cannot house the group any longer. The petition already has 600 signatures, and Mrs Alcock predicts it will exceed 1,000.

A council spokesman said: “We aim to be consistent and transparent in our processes and grant applications which are well-designed and in the right place to support sustainable growth.

“We have to be mindful of issues such as highway safety and other considerations in assessing proposals, as we have to ensure it will not cause future problems.

“In this instance, we had real concerns about the safety of the young people who would use the warehouse, given its access arrangements and location.”

“We will continue to offer assistance, including free planning advice and help with making future applications, and we hope they find new premises soon.”

Are you battling to survive? Call Joe Wilkes on 01603 772439 or email joe.wilkes@archant.co.uk

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