Closure fears for kids' gym
A CARMARTHEN gymnastics club which has served the town for almost 30 years could be forced to temporarily fold after a shock decision by the county council.
The Carmarthen School of Gymnastics was assured it could continue to use its base in the gym at the former Maridunum campus at QE High until early 2009.
However, council plans to demolish the gym — along with the school — have been brought forward and are expected to begin soon.
It means the club, which meets every Saturday and has more than 200 members, faces five months in limbo unless an alternative venue can be found.
A new hall for them at the revamped town leisure centre will not be ready until February.
Recent weeks have been difficult for the club, with no running water, toilet facilities, heat or electricity at the gym.
Parent Caroline Williams, of Nantycaws, who has two children at the club, said shards of glass are also sticking out on smashed window panes around the gym.
She added: "Since the school moved to the new QE High building there has been vandalism and glass lying around near boarded-up windows."
Club chairwoman Amanda Stone said while alternative venues have been offered by the council, they are too costly to hire.
"We have been offered both St Clears Leisure Centre and the old hall at the leisure centre in Carmarthen.
"The cost of hiring those is three times what we are paying now, and as we are a voluntary group, that puts a lot of pressure on us.
"We are in talks with the council and they are trying to help.
"It was just such a shock to learn we were being stopped from using the gym so quickly.
"If anyone can offer us a hall or practice space in or just outside Carmarthen until the new year, please get in contact."
Carmarthenshire Council head of leisure Ian Jones said: "We have offered the club the main sports hall at Carmarthen Leisure Centre on Friday nights, Saturday mornings and all day Sunday.
"The club has also been offered accommodation at St Clears leisure centre.
"We are in regular discussions with the club and are working with them to provide the best solution to their short term accommodation needs."