Local young boxers have been awarded a £5000 grant from Comic Relief to create their own gym.
Positive Futures North Liverpool provides boxing classes for local youngsters at the Anfield Sport and Community Centre but has now been given a cheque which will help turn a unit on Tetlow Way into a boxing gym.
The grant from Comic Relief will be spent on installing a new sponge floor as well as helping to buy new boxing equipment.
The classes, which have been running for around four years, have become increasingly popular. Last year over 160 eight to 25-year-olds attended regularly.
Project Manager at Positive Futures North Liverpool, Alan Walsh said: “The boxing club has just grown and grown and grown. We originally started the club with three lads who were causing trouble in the area.”
He added that there is much more to the classes than just teaching the youngsters how to box, pointing to its wider social impact: “Anfield is predominantly a white community, but in the boxing club alone we have six or seven black or Asian kids, so it has helped to smash down a lot of racial barriers as well as some of the post code rivalry. We have kids coming from Croxteth, Toxteth and everywhere. It’s brought people together.”
A Comic Relief spokesperson said: “Positive Futures North Liverpool has received funding through Comic Relief’s ‘Sport for Change’ grant making scheme, which is for projects making a positive difference in the community through sport. Sport has the potential to bring communities together, increase participation, reduce isolation and improve physical and emotional well-being.”
Positive Futures was set up in February 2004 and seeks to engage with disadvantaged young people who are involved, or are at risk of becoming involved, in gang culture, gun and knife crime, alcohol and drug misuse, anti-social and criminal behaviours, all of which adversely impact on local communities and businesses.