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Who are we

 

The Affinity Mission:

Our mission is for everyone to experience the joy and fun in movement, the value of the adventure and to discover you can exceed your own expectations. 

How we do this:

We achieve this through the provision of gymnastics and related activities. 
By being a welcoming team and creating a supportive environment, we enable each other to be the best we can and to develop healthy life skills.
 

Our Values:

We are fully committed to make sure that we always:
  1. Care passionately about each individual.
  2. Strive to see everyone’s ability and unearthed potential.
  3. Are professional in everything.
  4. We are honest and take responsibility for our own actions. We trust each other and give positive and constructive feedback.
  5. To celebrate all efforts – little wins matter.
  6. Always deliver more than expected.
  7. Above all else, lets have fun.

The Affinity Story

 

2006

Affinity was founded in September 2006 by Jennifer Page, at Sheredes Primary School in Hoddesdon, Herts UK. The school had been awarded a lottery grant of £5k to buy gymnastics equipment and advertised for a coach to run the classes. Jen became this coach and the first year of classes started as the school's after school club - but it was no ordinary club, starting with 9 after school sessions. Across that first year the club became more popular and the school asked Jen to take over the running of the club as well as the coaching. 

2007

So in September 2007, the club (then named Sheredes Gymnastics) became registered with British Gymnastics, continued the school after school sessions and started adding pre-school classes on Saturdays and competitive squad classes later in the evenings.

2008-11

Our first gymnasts competed within Hertfordshire in early 2008 and the club continued to develop adding more days and classes and coaches.
 

 

2012

To represent this development over time and the club's need for its own identity that represented all the various new areas we were providing opportunities in, we rebranded the club to its current name, Affinity Gymnastics in 2012.

2013

In 2013 we started using a second space at the school for classes, running in both halls at the same time to cope with our development and demand. There was also a satellite club started at the local John Warner Secondary School in Hoddesdon. The vision (as is for many gymnastics clubs) was always to have our own premises. A permanent place to continue the Affinity development and expand what we do for the local community.

2014-16

After much searching (and visualisation!) we found a local space, renovated it, and Affinity HQ was opened in August 2014. Classes continued at Sheredes Primary School as well, and still do to this day. From 2014, the club pretty much tripled in membership over the next 18 months, culminating in winning the National Club of the Year award from British Gymnastics. A busy yet awesome time!
 

2017-18

The next step then was to open another satellite site and the opportunity came when Affinity coach Sophie Lavery relocated to Crawley and wanted to continue coaching. Affinity Gymnastics Crawley was born in the summer of 2017, at a local school, in very similar ways to our background at Sheredes Primary!

2019

This club ran very successfully for two years and is currently now run by another local provider - SpringFit Gymnastics. There's lots of reasons why we our Crawley adventure came to an end but one of them came in the form of our biggest development to date. Affinity was approached by Sapphire Elite Cheerleaders in early 2019 with a view to working together. Affinity and Sapphire have had a long relationship and the story goes that back in 2009, Affinity Founder Jennifer Page was approached by a Sapphire athlete (an athlete who would then go onto run the Sapphires later on) for gymnastics classes to help her learn a back handspring. Out of these classes, Jen ended up joining the Sapphires as an athlete and competed with them for 3 years. This paved the way for many other collaborations over the years with other Affinity coaches and athletes discovering cheerleading with Sapphire and vice versa with Affinity welcoming Sapphire coaches and athletes over for gymnastics. So when in early 2019, the opportunity for Affinity, Sapphire and Goffs Academy trust to collaborate together we jumped at the chance (or should that be toe-touched!). As of September 2019, Affinity took over the running of Sapphire and the use of their gym (with its massive sprung floor) at Goffs Churchgate, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. We've been able to develop both offerings, with tumbling classes merging between the clubs, our freestyle gymnastics department relocating to the new space and also the addition of trampoline classes. Also at this time (not ones to do things by halfs) we left British Gymnastics and registered the club with UK Gymnastics instead. This has allowed us to run a more effective organisation and a unified one where all our gymnastics and related activities and staff can work together under the one organisation. We're all aligned in what we do and why and committed to developing gymnastics and cheerleading moving forwards in our combined future as a larger, united club.
 

The foundations we founded on:

Founder Jen has always been an innovator in her industry and as such Affinity has led the way in the development of grass roots gymnastics in the UK - and continues to.
Coach of the Year 2013      

Back in 2006, general or recreational gymnasts tended to be seen as second class citizens in the eyes of the large competitive gymnastics clubs and their coaches. Jen felt this simply isn't right. Everyone deserves excellent coaching and coaches who believe in and support them to reach their potential. In fact, those who perhaps are less talented, need the BEST coaches. This ethos simply wasn't catered for much at our time of founding. It's not about what you can or cannot do or what heights you may or not reach within the sport. It's about enjoying what you do and progressing at the pace that's right for each person. Plus it's meant to be fun! And that actually, having fun is the key to achievement at any level. Make an activity fun and you'll want to do more, train harder and learn more. She also felt the dire need for greater connection and human-qualities in our sport. Both from coaches - in terms of working with gymnasts on their development rather than using authoritarian techniques, and with general club admin. Administration of gymnastics classes was typically done (in our eyes anyways!) poorly. 'Customer service' didn't really exist back in clubs in 2006. So this has always been a key aspect of Affinity - that we're well organised, professional and always go the extra mile to work together across parents, coaches and gymnasts. We also have been at the forefront of the broadening of our sport over the years. Believing that gymnastics has something to offer everyone, we've developed many different types of gymnastics activities - to the point where now cheer and trampoline are involved and our own Affinity Invitational competition we've got to say we're now gymnastics and related activities! We may now not be the only organisation running from these ideals but we are proud to have helped lead the change forwards for our sport... and there's WAY more to come.

Q: What is Affinity all about?

A:  Top 10 things to know about us:

 
  1. Affinity is all about FUN. Whatever level the gymnast we believe you’ve got to enjoy what you do first, then progress will happen. We encourage and support everyone in our organization (gymnast, coach, guardian) to enjoy what they do.
  2. Everyone is welcome. We believe gymnastics is for ALL and are dedicated to living and breathing this message.
  3. We LOVE gymnastics and will share our passion with you.
  4. It matters not one bit how ‘good’ you are. We create self-confidence and belief in all our members – you CAN do anything you put your mind to.
  5. Affinity is a friendly, welcoming and supportive environment. You are safe here!
  6. We appreciate everyone involved at Affinity and LOVE celebrating anything and everything.
  7. It’s important to us that we provide the best service that we can. If you’ve ever any issues or feedback please communicate with us, your feedback (and your ideas!) are essential for us to improve and grow. We can also fix most issues quickly – if we know about them.
  8. Our sport is becoming increasingly diverse with new styles and activities and we love including all these innovative ideas into our classes.
  9. We’ve incredible staff and coaches who are all experts in their areas of gymnastics and are leading the development of our sport.
  10. We live our motto of ‘Aspire, Achieve and Advance’ and will always follow our own dreams to make Affinity bigger and better. We’re excited and grateful to have you with us on this journey.


 
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