The London region was formed in 1986 out of the old London & Kent AGA. This, in itself, had originally been a small part of the Metropolitan and South AGA.
Sport England was very anxious that governing body regional borders should follow their laid-down ones, and this helped the agreement to put Kent with the South East region, leaving London quite separate.
The Chair and Executive Council of this newly formed region believed that whilst the Region would be run by volunteers, the organisation did not consider itself ‘Amateur’ and so the new regional name of LONDON GYMNASTICS FEDERATION (LGF) was born. The new LGF commenced with no money and some outstanding debts – not the best way to get started. A logo followed shortly after, designed, free of charge, by Mike Elliott. At this stage just four disciplines were involved and run by the LGF – Women Artistic, Men’s Artistic, Sports Acrobatics and Rhythmic Gymnastics.
The new Committee caused some controversy as it sought to raise money by introducing a new Competition Licence system in order to participate in both MA and WA competitions. Whilst originally an idea to generate regional finances, it developed over the years to act as a great mechanism of recording coaches and judges qualifications and ensuring gymnasts had the correct membership. During 20 years of existence, the licence system spread to all the disciplines, including the new ones that were formed (TeamGym, General, Aerobics, Trampoline, etc.) and also included officials licences. In those early days other regions would raise an eyebrow at this mechanism, but as time went on and the two main benefits of these became apparent (control of gymnasts club-hopping, and finances of individual technical committee and the region) many regions would soon aspire to replicate our system.
It is important to note, that without this system bringing in money to our region for 20 years, we would not be in the healthy position we are today. Our reserves, generated through the licence system, have afforded both previous and current gymnasts, clubs and coaches, opportunities which many in other regions can only wish for.
The licence system was only one of the many trail-blazing activities which came out of LGF. We were the first to have a regular magazine which was sent out bi-monthly, the first to inaugurate a system of Awards for officials, gymnasts and supporters which were presented at a glittering Annual Awards Dinner, the first to run an annual Gymnastics Festival, the first to have an Annual General Meeting which incorporated Technical Assemblies for all disciplines, the first to hand out a plaque, with a yearly update to all our registered clubs, the first to produce a regular annual Handbook and the first to have our own regional banner.
Yes it sounds like we are bragging – but the reason to mention all these activities is because many of these activities were at the core of our organisation 20 years ago and are still going strong today.
The licence system has since passed and as mentioned we still benefit financially from all that was gained. We now have moved into a new era where the Region is managed by a Joint Technical Committee and a Management Committee. Where technical activities are rightly discussed in their own right and on the other side a set of competence officers looking after the strategy, management and finances of the region. At the time this new governance was started, we dropped “Federation” from our name and a new “London Gymnastics” with a fresh new logo was born. Our purpose was defined by a simple strap line: “Providing the perfect balance of fun, passion and precision”
In 2018 London Gymnastics became a company limited by guarantee. Our members are gymnastics clubs who affiliate to the Region. We provide a number of benefits to affiliated clubs including the opportunity for members of the clubs to participate in our activities, which include competitions, squads, clinics, conferences and other learning and development activities.
We don’t forget the past, and in honour of our peers, many of those who have served on our committees are etched into our history in the form of Honorary Vice-Presidents.