New facilities ‘a dream come true’ after fire for Salto Gymnastics Club

Calum MacIntosh hones his skills on the pommel horse.
Calum MacIntosh hones his skills on the pommel horse.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Salto Gymnastics Club is celebrating ‘top of the range’ new facilities after the Braeview Academy fire had put its future in jeopardy.

Now, though, the club is back and better than ever at the former site of Douglas’ The Fun Factory – which has been transformed into a state-of-the-art centre.

Salto had previously trained at the fire-hit school but were forced to seek a new base after last September’s blaze.

Head coach Pam Bowie immediately sought a permanent base for her athletes to develop in a professional manner.

And, after almost eight months in temporary homes, she is toasting a dream come true for her and Salto.

“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine and my dream has come to fruition,” the 54-year-old said.

“We had been working all over the local community due to the fire at Braeview.

“We had to source other premises and the following day after the fire we were out looking for something else.

“I had gone to see David Marshall from the Whitfield Skatepark as I had heard on the grapevine there was an opportunity to get facilities at the site of the old Fun Factory and chanced my arm.

“I had nothing to lose.

“I explained we are a charity that cater for children and adults in the Tayside and Fife areas not just Dundee.

“Thankfully, I had some equipment at Ballumbie Primary School and we persevered and kept going.

“Last week we finally moved in and started training properly in our own place.

“We want to keep it under wraps and surprised our members at the opening – they were taken aback!”

Salto Gymnastics are delighted with their new facility. Pictured: Brody Allan (6), Calum MacIntosh (11), Aiden Allan (8), Lewis MacDonald (11) and Innes McLelland (11) with coach Pam Bowie.

And Bowie revealed her members will be strutting their stuff on some of the best apparatus going.

She added: “The manufacturers of our equipment are known worldwide and it’s real top of the range stuff.

“We are still waiting on a couple of things to arrive from France but we have gone all out to make it super for the gymnasts.”

Club trustee Bowie was also keen to stress Salto are open to all not just the city’s elite gymnasts. And she believes they have classes to serve everyone in the surrounding areas.

Bowie added: “We are a growing club, in excess of 200 members but we do have spaces.

“That is down to it being in a prime location, we are surrounded by areas like Douglas, Mid-Craigie and Whitfield and we want to work with people in those areas.

“We cater for children from as young as 18 months with our parent and child class.

“There’s more independent work for 3-5-year-olds and then classes from school ages upwards to adults.

“We are working with local high schools and they will be able to access the centre.

“We also have a disability class on Saturday morning, which I think is very important.

“There is a gap in the market for us to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s and that is something we are exploring.

“It is a free facility in terms of we want to cater for all ages and abilities as it’s about developing life skills as much as it is sport.”

For anyone who wishes to get involved at Salto Gymnastics Club contact Pam Bowie on 07763 559163.