A boxing club is developing self-confident, respectful, independent young “champions” with the help of funding from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Epping Amateur Boxing Club is working with young people in Epping and surrounding areas to build resilience and improve their behaviours through boxing.
The club, which is run four nights each week by volunteer coaches, recently moved into new premises, which were kitted out thanks to donations.
Danny Spicer, head coach, said: “The club has been thriving; it has been really busy.
“The children have to learn to protect themselves; it’s not about hitting people. My boxing club helped to raise me and make me the respectful person I am today. It is not just about physical wellbeing, but mental wellbeing as well.
“We want champions, of course. But, when we see boys and girls who have no self-esteem or confidence succeed, that is a champion for us; that’s as good as having a champion, if we can build their confidence. It is a big ask, to get them to get in the ring in front of people and to potentially get hurt. They come out of that ring 10ft taller, though. They will still talk about that time when they boxed when they are 80.
“We want to create memories for these young people. They do not realise it now, but these are memories to last forever.
“We all have bumps in the road, but we are giving these young people the tools to get over those bumps. We can see what the club means to people. We have got their attention and they are responding.
“Parents have tried it all; sending them to their rooms, taking their phones off them. It is tough love we give them. We are doing this because we care about them and because we want them to get straight.”
The boxing club, which provides a safe place for children and young people and promotes and improves physical and mental wellbeing for members, was previously having to charge £5 per session, which was a barrier for regular attendance.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex provided £15,000 in the form of a crime and disorder reduction grant from the 2019/2020 Community Safety Fund to support the club’s work.
Mr Spicer said: “The PFCC funding helps us to offer our programme to those who otherwise could not afford it. Now, we can say to those young people ‘don’t worry about it, this is on us’.
“We would struggle without this funding. With the money, we have been able to make sure the rent – which is £19,000 per year – is covered.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said:
“It is so important for our young people to have positive role models like Danny and his team. The work they are doing at the boxing club helps them to build their resilience and gives them an opportunity to focus their energies in a positive way.
“Cracking down on anti-social behaviour and protecting children and vulnerable people from harm are priorities in our Police and Crime Plan. Activities and groups like this one really help us to give our young people the skills and confidence needed to choose the right path.”
If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police here