Sisters secure £245,000 for gymnastics venture

Sisters Jody Nelson and Joanne Brown-Nelson secure £245,000 funding for their Liverpool city region ‘gymnastics academy’ for children and aim to create 20 jobs. Tony McDonough reports

The Little Gym
The Little Gym is based in Widnes. Picture from The Little Gym


Sisters Jody Nelson and Joanne Brown-Nelson have opened a ‘gymnastics academy’ for children after securing a £245,000 loan from NatWest.

They have initially created nine jobs at The Little Gym outlet in Widnes and aim to grow headcount to 20 over the next five years. The Little Gym Group is an international franchise that was founded in the US almost 50 years ago.

It focuses on improving self-esteem and confidence among children as well as developing their gymnastic agility, poise and gross motor skills.

This latest Widnes branch offers a wide range of the group’s classic Serious Fun classes, accessible to kids from four months old to 12 years’ old.

Following a successful launch in June, directors and sisters Jody and Joanne hope to expand their offering in the future and open additional locations in the region.

Alongside the purchase of the premises at The Hive, the funding was used for a full renovation of the previously vacant building, with insulation and energy efficient heating and lighting installed to lower energy consumption and bills.

Joanne said: “The Little Gym environment is fun, but our purpose is serious. We want to make skill-building fun for students and parents alike and are excited to be offering our services to the residents of Cheshire.

“NatWest has been a huge help in making our vision come to life. Their business advice and support, as well as financial aid, have been instrumental in launching our Cheshire location.”

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Little Gym Group’s programme is aligned with the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) standards. Its classes incorporate movement-based learning and imaginative play to enhance coordination, listening, and cognitive skills.

And it also offers parent/child and baby classes as well as exclusive private hire use of The Little Gym facility for bespoke birthday parties.

Sarah Johnson, relationship manager at NatWest, added: “The success of the Little Gym Group internationally is clear and we are very excited to see this offering brought to the North West.

“We wish them the best following the initial opening and hope they continue their upward trajectory with additional sites in the future, providing a positive change to the lives of children across the North West.”

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