Sara Cuffin – Community Coach of the Year finalist

With over 480 recreational gymnasts training at Ynys Mon Gymnastics Club, and a waiting list of 60 children, volunteer coach Sara Jane Cuffin certainly has her work cut out.

“It is full on” laughs Sara. “But when you make a commitment to these young people, you need to be there for them” she adds.

As part of the dedicated coaching team at the Holyhead facility – the only gym club on Anglesey – Sara is a key part of its success.

She has been involved with the club for the past 12 years.

As well as working over 40 hours a week at a doctor’s surgery, she trains a variety of gymnastic sessions 6 nights a week.

“It can be hard to get a balance, but I love it ” she admits. “My life is at the gym or travelling to competitions and courses, but it’s a passion, a hobby and a social life for me.”

Since moving into a dedicated facility two years ago, Sara has taken a lead on increasing recreational classes at the club.

“I try and bring a fun and friendly approach to coaching” she explains. “Helping the children develop makes me very proud. From the beginners learning to do a cartwheel for the first time and how excited they are, to the competitive gymnasts mastering a somersault.”

Sara has been the driving force behind inclusivity at the club, holding disability sessions once a week and linking with a local Special Educational Needs school. This helped them win Welsh Disability Sport Wales Club of the Year in 2015.

Catherine Rowley, Head Coach at Ynys Mon Gymnastics Club explained that Sara goes above and beyond for the club. She says: “Nothing is ever too much for her. She is always the first coach in to set up classes and first in on a Saturday morning to pop the heating on.”

Her nomination comes after a tough few years in her personal life, with the illness and death of a loved one.

“Sara is a true trooper and battles her way through everything life throws at her with a smile on her face and a skip in her step” adds Catherine.