ENGLAND BOXING has announced that it is distributing an additional £150,000 of Sport England funding from a Tackling Inequalities Fund to help ease the financial burden on boxing clubs in the most deprived communities across the country.

There are criteria that applicants for this funding should meet. Clubs should apply if they have not already received existing financial aid during the coronavirus pandemic. So clubs that have received a grant from their local authority based on rateable value and/or received a Community Emergency Fund grant from Sport England should not apply. This fund is designated for clubs that serve members from the most deprived communities. It’s aimed at clubs which draw their members from the top 20% of the poorest communities in the country, determined by the ‘Indices of Multiple Deprivation’. Clubs should visit: http://imd-by-postcode.opendatacommunities.org/imd/2019 to check the IMD ranking for their area or their members.

England Boxing’s club support officers can help those who need assistance to apply for this funding or help clubs which think that, while they might be just outside the criteria, still have a compelling case for receiving funding.

England Boxing is seeking out these particular clubs because Sport England research suggests that people from deprived communities are less likely to keep active during the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore a small grant could help clubs keep in touch with their membership by improving communication, or help to devise some safe distance activities for members, or help prepare for the club’s re-opening, or simply to keep paying the bills so that the club is ready to come back.

“It’s been great to see more than 450 affiliated clubs get some kind of financial assistance to help with the enforced gym closure during the coronavirus pandemic,” said England Boxing’s Head of Community Development Ron Tulley. “But there are a number of other clubs who we know haven’t, for one reason or another, been able to secure it but are well deserving of help at this difficult time.

“We’re extremely grateful to Sport England for giving us this additional funding which we believe will help us reach clubs who are still in need and we look forward to assessing the applications.”

England Boxing will support applications for funding from £300 up to a maximum of £3000.

Applications should be sent to a club support officer in order to be assessed by a panel. Final investment decisions will be made by Sport England. Application forms can be downloaded from the England Boxing website and a list of club support officers is available here: https://www.englandboxing.org/clubs/club-support-officers/.

New research has emphasised the importance of boxing clubs when it comes to serving some of the most deprived communities in the country. Three quarters of England Boxing affiliated clubs are in the more deprived parts of the country with 25% of them in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods nationally. This not the case with most other sports. It means that boxing clubs are in a position to reach participants that other sports can’t.

Because of their position boxing clubs tackle a range challenges, from gang related crime to anti-social behaviour, which many other sports are unable to address. When you consider that gyms often adapt to limited space and resources, they are of immense value to different communities. As well as achievement in sport, these clubs provide an environment that develops long term friendships and networks. For some participants their relationship with their coach can be one of the few reliable and dependable things in their lives. In fact coaches often have to address complex issues, without necessarily having had the relevant training or support themselves.

“Funding should be directed to coaching and coaches as this generates a more significant and sustainable return on investment,” the report said. “Boxing clubs are typically led by people from the communities in which they are located, which is critical to their success. They generate pride in the community.”

The Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University carried out the research into community coaching in collaboration with England Boxing. Their report makes a number of recommendations around how England Boxing should focus on helping clubs secure their facilities and places emphasis on the level of support that can be offered to clubs in terms of training and development programmes. It’s also notes the difficulties for clubs when it comes to accessing funding and their need to ‘demonstrate value’. this can involve keeping accurate participation records but also underscores the need for alternative models to measure return on investment in boxing. The report suggests that England Boxing should develop template procedures and documentation for use within boxing clubs, for the purposes of simplifying processes like financial bookkeeping, assembling a membership database, management or volunteer recruitment and promotion of club activities.

While there is much for other sports to learn from what community clubs do, boxing too should champion how valuable it really is, especially in the communities that need it most.

As some lockdown measures ease gyms remain closed

INDOOR gyms and boxing club still have to remain closed, even though the government introduced some measures to ease lockdown from July 4. Outdoor gyms in public parks have been permitted to open but key guidelines remain in place. These are:

  • Outside-of-the-household or household social bubble groups should not be more than six people.
  • Groups are limited to six in order to prevent larger and wider chains of transmission. Therefore, you can’t have multiple groups of six unless there is significant distance between them and they do not mix or share equipment.
  • Even within the group of six, equipment should be thoroughly cleaned between each individual use, alongside following the governments personal hygiene advice.
  • It is important that hygiene guidelines in terms of washing hands and avoiding touching face before after use and that the equipment is wiped down using antibacterial spray before and after use. This also applies to gym equipment brought outside from a club, for example kettle bells, skipping ropes and so forth.
  • Social distancing of two metres must be maintained.
  • Pad work, sparring and competitive boxing is still not permitted.