Dee Stark from the Werribee Gymnastics Club has a strong passion for getting people of all ages and backgrounds involved in the sport.

Mrs Stark’s passion and enthusiasm has been recognised after she was nominated for two major awards.

Mrs Stark has been named as a finalist in the Community Coach of the Year section of the Victorian Sport Awards, which will be presented by the state government and Vicsport next month.

She has also been shortlisted as finalist in  the Inclusive Leader of the Year category of the Gymnastics Victoria Awards, also to be held next month.

“I was completely surprised, that what I’m doing here is something considered worthy of a state award – I’m just trying to make a little bit of difference in the local area,”

Mrs Stark said. During her two years at the Werribee Gymnastics Club, Mrs Stark has helped to establish a variety of inclusive classes.

This includes classes for children with autism, run in partnership with the Sporting Network of Autistic People and Parents (SNAPP), and classes for people aged over 55.

These classes, which are funded through the Australian Multicultural Community Services and provided free-of-charge to participants, feature gentle exercises in a gymnastics setting.

In addition, Mrs Stark co-ordinates the club’s KinderGym and PlayGym sessions for children from around 18 months to five years old.

“We just want them to enjoy movement, that’s my focus, not creating gymnastics stars,” she said