As the number of young people aged between 16 and 25 playing sport regularly rises to 3.86 million, according to a recent survey by Sport England, boxing continues to grow in popularity.
Once frowned upon as a dangerous and uncivilised sport, boxing is now recognised for giving young people self-esteem, getting rid of aggression and teaching discipline.
As well as being a route to health and fitness and a way out of poverty and deprivation for many youngsters, boxing is being credited with improving behaviour and attendance at schools.
It’s for these reasons that the Community Foundation for Calderdale supports the Halifax Police Amateur Boxing Club based at Ladyship mills in Ovenden, one of the top ten most deprived areas of the country.
A holder of the Clubmark accolade, Halifax Police Amateur Boxing Club is the only ABAE (Amateur Boxing Association of England) Clubmark accredited boxing club in Calderdale, and one of only three in the Yorkshire region.
Around 55% of the Club’s 400 members are children aged nine and above and it works closely with schools, providing general boxing coaching and gym fitness classes, footwork, co-ordination, team building, healthy lifestyle and dietry education.
“The Club helps instil a sense of discipline and self respect in kids with problems who are not attending school due to family problems or bullying,” explains Head Coach, Mick Rowe. “We work closely with the Youth Offending Team and youth organisations like Project Challenge. We’re open six days a week and membership is affordable.”
The Club has great development ambitions and impressive testimonials from West Yorkshire Police and Fire and Rescue Service.
Thanks to the work of the Club, the Fire Brigade reports a reduction in all areas of crime, anti-social behaviour and anti-social fires. It recognises that Boxing Club staff have become positive role models. The lack of adults in some families is an issue identified nationally in deprived areas.
Keeping the Club going and raising crucial funds depends on people like Lloyds Bank Manager, Gavin Morton, a volunteer with links to the CFFC and Business in the Community.
“Boxing helped me as a child so I was delighted to be able to support the Club when it was having problems with business planning and funding,” says Gavin. “As a member of the Board, I have been able to help stabilise things and promote the club to the wider community.”
The Club recently benefited from Lottery funding and a CFFC grant which helped pay for new equipment including boxing gloves, punch bags, boxing pads and skipping ropes.
“Our aim now is to get the Club accredited so that it can deliver training courses, work with the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and become an educational centre.”
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