As a gymnastics coach, Bradford’s Linsey Silson is used to helping her students reach new heights, but her own lofty ambitions have received a boost after being awarded a grant through the Gillette ‘Great Starts’ campaign.
Silson is currently an assistant coach at Halifax’s Diamonds Gymnastic Club, starting three years ago when her daughter Emily expressed an interest in taking up the sport.
But while Emily, now aged nine, has moved on, 37-year-old Silson has stuck it out and has no intention of stopping any time soon – quite the opposite.
Silson has desires of moving from an assistant to a coach in her own right and her dreams received a boost last month when she received the news that her application for a Gillette ‘Great Starts’ grant was successful - a campaign which aims to celebrate coaches and inspire the next generation by encouraging people to get into in coaching.
And Silson insists the only way is up for both her and her pupils from now on.
“Being successful with the Gillette grant was a nice little surprise, especially since I was on holiday in the Sherwood Forest when the e-mail arrived and I didn’t see it when I got back,” she said.
“I have been an assistant coach for about three years now having got into it when I took my daughter Emily down to the club and wanted to help out.
“I fell in love with it instantly and now I want to make the step up, and this grant will help me go from level one to a level two coach.
“Level one is just a trainee level but if I was able to get my level two then I could take my own groups and really help out more, which is what I want to do.
“Working with children as young as five and six is fantastic, and hopefully I can progress now with this help.”
Gymnastics in Great Britain has never been on more of a high than it is now with Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Beth Tweddle, Sam Oldham, Daniel Purvis and Kristian Thomas all climbing the London 2012 podium this summer.
And Silson admits the extra desire of children to want to get involved at her club means the Gillette grant is all the more timely.
“Diamonds in Halifax has a massive waiting list of kids wanting to get involved, and that is great to see,” she added.
“I think the Olympics had a big part to play in that and everyone can now see that gymnastics really is a good sport to get involved in.
“With the increase in participation that makes the jobs of coaches all the more important and I am hoping to play my part by moving on from being an assistant.”
* The 2012 Gillette ‘Great Starts’ campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing grants to fund their next-level qualifications.