Project to tackle anti-social behaviour moves into new gym

Kevin Brownlow in the boxing ring set up at the transformed unit - thanks to support of Cheshire PCC and the local community

A project set up following concerns about anti-social behaviour in part of Cheshire now has it's own purpose-built gym.

A newsletter from Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School in late 2018 reported incidents of Year 7 and 8 pupils organising unsupervised boxing matches, wearing gloves but no protective headgear, in local parks.

In a bid to give local youngsters something more positive to put their energy into, Holmes Chapel Boxing Club started in a room at Active Fitness in Goostrey in January, led by boxing coach Kevin Brownlow,

It is aimed at 10 to 16 year-olds, and also runs non-contact sessions for six to nine year-olds.

The volunteers, and parents, say they have already seen a difference in those who take part.

Kevin said: "The beauty of the boxing gym is that it is somewhere people want to go, rather than somewhere they are forced to go.

"The evidence so far suggests is that the kids who are coming in are enjoying it, and are learning discipline, structure and respect.

"We are instilling them with a set of values that, I believe, only a boxing club can do."

With the club reaching more than 50 members, it has taken over a neighbouring unit so even more youngsters can benefit.

Efforts to expand were also boosted by a grant awarded to the club by Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane from his Safer Communities Fund.

Kevin said: "The unit we have got is an old potato washing factory which was very dusty, and had been used to store forklift trucks.

"It was twice the size it needed to be, we only needed half of it.

"We knew we would have a lot of building work and floor levelling to do, and then to kit a boxing gym out as well, we knew that would cost a lot of money.

"We applied for a contribution towards that of £5,000, and that is what we received.

"Without the support of people like the PCC, it just wouldn't be possible.

"Some of the things that are in the gym are also funded by local parents.

"There are some who have their own businesses, such as Duttons building company.

"They have come forward and told us this is something great, which is really needed.

"They have stepped up and helped, from coming in on a Sunday morning and grabbing a paintbrush, to sweeping the floors."

Cheshire PCC David Keane said: “We’ve seen the success community boxing projects in other areas of Cheshire have had on reducing anti-social behaviour and making our communities safer.

“Boxing clubs give young people somewhere to socialise with their friends and provide structure and discipline to stop them getting caught up in trouble on our streets.

“I am pleased that my Safer Communities Fund can support Holmes Chapel Boxing Club and I hope that the funding leads to more local residents embracing the project.”

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