Coaches at a thriving Northumberland community boxing club are hoping to see even more young athletes pulling on the gloves after winning funding from regional employer The Banks Group for a second training ring.
Newbiggin Community Boxing Club already runs training sessions every evening and weekend for junior and senior boxers from across South East Northumberland, and has produced many national boxing champions since it was first set up in 1986, including recent female National Schools Championship winners and Three Nations champions Courtney Scott and Alex Brown.
The popularity of the Club had meant that the training facilities available at its Front Street headquarters were always very busy, and growing number of members was making it difficult for everyone to get as much time practising in the ring as they and their coaches wanted.
But after applying to the Banks Community Fund for support, a £4,500 grant has enabled the Club to bring in a second training ring which will allow everyone to access the facilities they need to improve their skills.
The grant has also allowed the Club to purchase a dozen pairs of sparring gloves and ten pairs of competition gloves, which will replace predecessors that were reaching the end of their usable life.
Newbiggin Community Boxing Club has more than 50 boxing members who are aged between eight and 40 years old, and also hosts a large number of casual, non-boxing visitors who attend its fitness sessions.
Many of its members are second generation boxers who have followed their fathers into the Club’s ranks, while all the members of its experienced coaching team previously represented it as boxers themselves.
Next month, Courtney Scott will be heading to Bulgaria to represent England in the European Junior Championships.
The Club, which is entirely self-funded and volunteer-run, is aiming to widen participation in the area, as well as to improve the experience of participants in the sport, and it is expecting to see a further surge in visitor numbers as a result of the increased training capacity it now boasts.
Raymond Scott, Newbiggin Community Boxing Club secretary, and the former secretary of the British Amateur Boxing Association, says: “We try to create an atmosphere in which everyone that comes to us develops just as much as a person as they do as a boxer, and we’ve had lots of examples of shy, insecure young people growing in self-confidence and belief thanks to the encouragement and support they get here.
“Our coaching team has been flat out for as long as we can remember trying to give everyone the training experience that they need to progress within the facilities that we’ve been able to offer up to now.
“Having this second ring available will make an immense difference to the way in which we’re able to work, to the speed at which our boxers can keep developing their skills and fitness levels, and hopefully to the results that we get in competitions.
“Keeping the club’s finances on an even keel is always a challenge for us, and the money we would have needed to spend to buy this new ring would have been well beyond what was possible.
“The Banks Group’s support will make an invaluable contribution towards our continuing development, and we’re already seeing the numbers coming through the door growing as people hear about everything we’re now able to offer.”
Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “A huge amount of time, dedication and expertise goes into making the Newbiggin Community Boxing Club the inspiring organisation that it is, and we’re looking forward to hearing even more success stories coming out of the Club in the future.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.
Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.