Parents fear the worst after popular sports club shuts suddenly at a Hitchin school as police confirm investigation under way

Sprung Loaded

Sprung Loaded - Credit: Archant

Parents and children are worried as to why a popular after-school club in Hitchin suddenly closed without any warning – and are fearing the worst.

Hitchin Boys' School hosted the now-closed Sprung Loaded gymnastics club.

Hitchin Boys' School hosted the now-closed Sprung Loaded gymnastics club. - Credit: Archant

A long-running trampoline club called Sprung Loaded based at the sports centre in Hitchin Boys School was unexpectedly shut with no prior notice at the end of May – with no further comment bar a cursory note to parents seen by the Comet – leaving many unanswered questions.

The club – an independent business with no official connection to the school apart from the fact they leased space in the sports centre – was founded by Charlie Mussino in 2006.

A concerned parent told the Comet: “What is going on with the club? Why won’t the school or the club tell us anything?

“Charlie was a nice man but there has been no real comment from the school or from the club as to why they shut.

Charlie Mussino.

Charlie Mussino. - Credit: Archant

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“He’s not answering calls, or responding to emails sent to him. Even their website has closed down – and there’s been no official explanation from the school.

“As a parent I just want to know my kids are safe, or if there are any child protection issues – and it’s concerning no-one has explained anything to us. It makes you worry.”

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The after-school club has taught hundreds of children aged under 16 as well as male and female sixth formers, and left many parents baffled as to the reason.

A spokesman for Hitchin Boys’ School told the Comet: “Police are currently investigating concerns regarding the conduct of an individual at a gymnastics club in Hitchin.

“No arrests have been made and it would not be appropriate to comment any further at this time.”

In a letter sent to parents the school informed them ‘in light of new training directives and staffing issues’ all trampoline, gymnastics and multi-gym lessons were put on hold.

A police spokesman added: “We received a third party report regarding conduct of staff at a gym club in Hitchin.

“Investigations are on-going and it would be inappropriate to make further comment at this time.”

The trampoline club pays the school a fee to use the hall, with a subscription paid to British Gymnastics – the national governing body for the activity in the UK.

Allegations of instructors not being accreditated with the official body – also raising fears relating to safety and child protection issues – have also been made, with another parent telling the Comet: “It did make you wonder as it was kids teaching kids at times – which makes you think if our children were safe?”

Despite repeated calls to British Gymnastics no one replied to the questions we put to them.

There have been further allegations employees of the club have not been paid for two or three months – with at least one having to take up a labouring job in order to pay bills in the meantime.

A message on the now-closed Sprung Loaded website reads: “We endeavour to resolve the current issues”, with the last message on their twitter feed @SprungLoadedTC posted on May 24.

The Comet made repeated attempts to contact Mr Mussino but he did not respond to our calls.

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