A STATE-of-the-art gymnastics centre is set to breathe new life into a Port Glasgow industrial estate.

Claire Rankin and her partner Allan McKinnon are set to open their purpose built Twisters Academy in Gareloch Road in Devol Industrial Estate this summer.

The couple are using their life savings to transform the 10,200 sq ft empty unit into a top of the range gymnastics centre featuring sprung flooring, a vault, bars, beam, trampoline, tumble run and foam pit.

The facility will initially employ three staff with the potential to build up to 16 in a mixture of full and part time roles.

Allan said: "This will make a huge difference to the community.

"The main reason we looked at the Inverclyde area is because I was the gymnastics development manager at the sportscotland Inverclyde National Training Centre in Largs for 16 and a half years and Claire was the head coach there for 12 years.

"So many kids were travelling from Inverclyde to the centre.

"When an opportunity came up for a change of direction for us, we felt that this was a no-brainer to provide a facility here that is going to be worthwhile.

"We are putting everything into it - we have got life savings and are selling the house so we can move closer by.

"We have a 10-year lease and we can negotiate that with the owner - it's a lifelong commitment."

Claire, 42, and Allan, 46, will bring with them a wealth of experience in the sport as they have coached gymnasts from grassroots level right up to British elite level.

Claire said: "The main thing is that it will be a community based centre, so we will accommodate children from 10 months old right through to all levels for both boys and girls."

On a national level, there is a drive to promote better opportunities for women and girls in sport which is something that the couple feel strongly about.

Allan said: "An important point is what this will do for females in sport - we are making that provision for them and getting them off the streets."

Claire added: "It's good to have females in sport but it's about keeping them in sport, which can be quite tough."

The couple have just received planning permission for their new facility and hope to open it some time this summer.