Primary school pupils fight to save Clapton gym

Sporty girls Miwa Tatasuhara, left, Madeline Soode, Ella Changlee and Marnie Dineen are upset as the

Sporty girls Miwa Tatasuhara, left, Madeline Soode, Ella Changlee and Marnie Dineen are upset as the gym they visist twice a week, Shokk, in Kingshall Leisure Centre, is likely to close down. - Credit: Archant

A group of primary school pupils have launched a campaign to save a children’s gym which is under threat of closure.

Management company GLL is currently reviewing the future of the Shokk gym – a dedicated children’s facility at the King’s Hall Leisure Centre, Lower Clapton Road, Clapton.

The news has left friends Madeline Coode, 11, Marnie Dineen, 11, Ella Changlee, 10 and Marnie Dineen, 10, who all attend Benthal Primary School in Benthal Road, Stoke Newington, distraught.

Miwa Tatsuhara, of Reighton Road, Clapton said: “I joined in September and was inspired by the Olympics.

“With Hackney being an Olympic borough, it’ll be sad to lose such a unique sports facility of this kind.

“Obesity amongst children is in the news often, and it’ll be a shame to lose a space that will help.”

Madeline Coode, 11, said: “They said the gym was closing about two months ago as there’s no money to keep it going.

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“I was upset. I go twice a week and go swimming at the centre afterwards.”

Madeline originally joined the gym to help strengthen her arms so she could improve her butterfly stroke – and has since become one of the best swimmers on her school team.

She added: “We are an Olympic borough and people should not be lounging about. We should be encouraging people to do more exercise.”

The children’s gym may be moved into the adult gym as part of the review, but this has not impressed the young fitness enthusiasts.

Madeline added: “I don’t want to go to the adult’s gym. There are so many people there. The kid’s gym is quite small. We feel free to talk and you don’t have people watching you.”

Miwa’s dad, Mr Ichiro Tatsuhara, added: “It’s a good facility for kids. It’s nice to see my daughter work out there. I think a lot of people don’t know the gym exists and they could do with publicising it more.”

A GLL spokeswoman said: “The location of the Shokk children’s gym is being reviewed.

“We are considering moving children’s gym activities into the main adult gym and opening a dedicated Shokk gym within Queens Bridge Sport and Community Centre, which is based one and a half miles away.

“The impetus behind this move is to try to increase participation levels – which have dropped significantly since the facility first opened.

“A definitive decision has yet to be made and GLL would welcome feedback from parents of children currently using the facility.”