What to be aware of & flag to Welfare

Working to ensure we have Happy Souls

We as an Academy firmly believe that to succeed we must uphold our core values but we need everyone to support us in achieving this: gymnasts; staff; volunteers & parents alike. What we witness in the gym is only ever half the story & we need parents to help share their observations from outside the gym too.

We understand that often people don’t want to make a fuss, think someone else has probably already mentioned it, or don’t even know what exactly should be raised with our welfare officers so this document aims to provide some guidance on what we should all be looking out for and how to raise it when you see it.

Gymnasts should feel at ease approaching any of our coaches within the Academy, however each group has a lead coach who is the day-to-day contact & a Head of Discipline for escalated concerns. We understand that sometimes it can feel uncomfortable talking to them or you may even suspect that they could be part of the problem - that’s where our welfare team come in.

They are entirely independent from our coaches and they report directly to our APD, Board of Trustees & the BG welfare team. They are not trying to win medals or achieve gymnastics success - they are solely here to advocate for the gymnasts and ensure their mental and physical wellbeing. They are specifically recruited, to ensure they have relevant experience & then trained, to ensure they understand the important and confidential nature of their role.

Contacting the Welfare Team doesn’t just have to be done in a very formal way, they are regularly in and around the gym (some are current parents, while others children have now moved on). They are there to be a sounding board and are more than happy for you to get in touch at any point. They can talk to you over the phone, respond to an email or arrange to sit down (away from prying ears) and just have a chat. All of their contact details are on our website & posters in the café & gym.

Sometimes it can help to just talk and share how you’re feeling & it might not warrant anything further. However equally there are other occasions where the concern is more serious and they will follow up, or it may be that they’ve heard the same thing a few times now and that itself can then trigger a response. Either way we can only improve as an Academy & individual coaches if we receive regular feedback.


Things to look out for

In our Gymnasts:

       1. Slight changes in behaviour

  • Becoming subdued/withdrawn
  • Unusual levels of emotion/upset from the individual
  • Constant attention seeking, usually by direct and unreasonable challenges to authority
  • Frequent absences, or reluctance to attend
  • Withdrawn, moody behaviour and wariness
  • Telling lies, avoidance or deflection of conversation
  • Running away/hiding

       2. Severe changes in behaviour

  • Aggressive behaviour to other students e.g. hitting out at the slightest argument
  • Persistent sexually provocative speech or behaviour
  • Self-injury, particularly cuts on arms, legs
  • Running away/hiding

      3. Change in appearance

  • Gain a lot of weight in a small space of time
  • Lose a lot of weight in a small space of time
  • Unexplained bruising or concerning injuries
  1. If a Racist or Homophobic incident occurs
  1. Suspicion of Bullying:
  • Any accusation raised by a gymnast
  • Any accusation raised by a parent/guardian
  • Persistent issues with the same gymnast/s over a number of weeks

In our Coaches:

  • Inappropriate languarge and/or gestures
  • Harassment
  • Name-calling
  • Persistent sarcasm (verbally or non-verbally)
  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Constant criticism of anyone (gymnast or another coach)
  • Exerting excessive pressure - physically and mentally
  • Forcing a gymnast to do something against their will
  • Ostracising or ignoring a gymnast
  • Lack of due care and attention
  • Belittling of gymnast and/or other coaches
  • Abuse of their position of power
  • Threatening behaviour of any sort (physical or mental)


BG logo with prop colour - 100px

East Midlands Region - 100px

NGA Olympic Gymnasts

downie-sisters-bronze-team-world-champions-2015 - 100px

Sam Oldham - 100px