Junior British trampoline star from Yorkshire with autism and ADHD appeals for financial support

A young trampolining star from Cleckheaton has become the only girl to be selected for GB Gymnastics’ development squads in both trampolining and double mini trampolining.

Sophie Hutchinson, 12, has achieved this remarkable feat following years of stellar performances at competitions across the country.

The talented youngster – who trains at Kirklees Trampoline Gymnastics Academy in Huddersfield – was recently diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and her mother, Kat, has found the sport to be a release for the high energy levels conditions caused by these conditions.

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“We started doing it when Sophie was about five years old,” Hutchinson told The Yorkshire Post. “She’s recently been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. We didn’t know back then, obviously, but she was very hyper so we used to do a lot of activities with her to try and handle that energy and she hit it off with trampolining.

Sophie Hutchinson, trampolinist.Sophie Hutchinson, trampolinist.
Sophie Hutchinson, trampolinist.

“Since we found out about the autism and everything, we discovered that trampolining actually is something that helps those types of children.”

Last year, Sophie was a member of England’s junior trampolining outfit and represented her country at a competition in Sweden.

At a domestic level, the 12-year-old has also been punching beyond her years. In the 2023 British Championships, she defeated several older competitors to achieve a silver medal in the double mini trampoline category and bronze on the general trampolining stage.

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Alongside these accolades, Sophie secured gold in the trampolining event at last year’s English Championships in Birmingham.

Sophie Hutchinson in action.Sophie Hutchinson in action.
Sophie Hutchinson in action.

Kat added: “She absolutely loves trampolining. She trains five days a week after school, so we go pretty much straight from there and come home at 9pm at night.

“They’re long days and hard work, but enjoyable and the benefits are just absolutely massive.

“Particularly because of her autism and ADHD, it regulates her – it’s what keeps her level. If they close for a week at Christmas, for example, she’s a different person.

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“This is everything to her and it helps her mentally and physically so much, and she’s done so well from it, you know. I’m so proud of her.”

But the news is not all positive, with the financial burden of continuing Sophie’s participation in the sport she loves becoming too much to bear for her parents.

At present, it annually costs more than £5,000 for her to compete at GB level – with no financial help being available to her current age group.

Sophie’s mother subsequently faces a dilemma. She said: “It’s just a huge financial cost, and it’s becoming impossible in the current climate. Her fees each month amount to between £200-250 to just train.

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“For every competition, you’re looking at £130 to enter two disciplines and there are around seven big competitions each year.

“For each of those, you need a hotel because they’re not local and we also need food and petrol.“The leotards themselves are

around £130 potentially and she obviously grows a lot at the moment.

“For the GB squads, the kit was about £400, and each training session is about £90.

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“They’re just relentless costs and we’re constantly needing to pay out for another thing.

“We don’t want to let Sophie down by saying she can’t do it, and it would be a tragedy to say she couldn’t do the squads.

“But, you know, the money has got to come from somewhere.”

In turn, the family are holding out for some form of sponsorship to help pave the way for a young star looking to shine in a sport she adores.

“Everyone is struggling with it, and it’s a shame because were one of the top clubs in the country and to have to beg everyone to help us is hard,” Hutchinson added.

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“I’ve contacted so many different companies already, and everyone pretty much says you have to go back to British Gymnastics, but there is no funding for her at this point.

“There’s nothing, really, to help. We’re trying to find a sponsor for her.

“Any company that might be able to help out, or anything like that would be much appreciated.

“We can put their name on her jacket and put it on the car while we travel, or anything of that nature.

“We’re really struggling at the moment, otherwise.”

Those wishing to support Sophie can do so on her GoFundMe page, accessible via this link: https://gofund.me/c5943bd0