Bexhill ABC awarded Aviva Grant

January 17, 2018 | by Gemma Field


Southern Counties club Bexhill ABC has been awarded £23,000 from the Aviva Community Fund after applying for a grant and creating a successful social media and local campaign to gain votes.

The Aviva Community Fund offers a chance to get funding for an important cause in your community. Bexhill secured the grant with a total of 8539 votes.

The club plays a prominent role in the community by providing an all-inclusive boxing club which enables all ethnicities, sexes, and ages to enter into a sport, along with promoting a healthy lifestyle through exercise.

Bexhill has been in some form of existence over the last five years, yet has never had its own premises, leaving the club with an always uncertain future.

Over 2 years ago, the club was made homeless after their agreement with a local community centre ended, which led to members of the club training outside with little/no equipment.

After weeks of searching we were kindly supported by the local squash club (Bexhill Squash Club) who allowed us to share their premises alongside their few remaining members.

The club has now got the opportunity to have a home and with the building itself needing plenty of work – rewiring, the roof fixed, cladding replaced on the back, painting, and general refurbishment. The grant will allow the work to be done and Bexhill to have a more secure future.

The Committee of the club is made up of Rian Witcomb (Chairman), Terry Freeman (Head Coach), Tone Godwin (Competition Secretary) and Richard Mabb (Treasurer) and they work with David Bourne, Ian Fletcher and Steve Garlick on coaching.

“The grant literally means everything to us as a club,” Witcomb said. “Although the grant will be ‘fixing’ areas that may not be seen by others such as external cladding, roofing, and electrics it means that moving forward as a club, we will no longer have the burden of this work hanging over us. If these issues had escalated at any point it could have put the future of our club in jeopardy.

“We are now no longer walking on a ‘knife edge’ and within a few months we will have our own premises that is suitable for our members and will allow our club to grow and provide an ongoing service to the local community.

“After identifying the opportunity offered by the Aviva Community fund we took stock of the issues that we needed to tackle, and made our pitch. We then made great use of social & local media to highlight our cause. The support we received from the people of Bexhill, our members, our friends, & family etc. was amazing. They all took time out vote for us, and encourage others to do the same.

“We will use the funds to tackle the issues highlighted – this will ensure that the club is safe from the elements, and prevent any further damage/costs. We will also have our premises re-wired which means that we can turn all of the lights on!

“Once we’ve completed the work identified we want our club to grow further as we believe we can offer a great environment for people to not only learn to box, but get fit and make friends. In time we may look to adapt the premises further to ensure we get the most out of it. We currently train in two separate squash courts and may take the opportunity when appropriate to knock them into one area so that we can run our classes more effectively.

“There are far too many people to thank to be honest. However, the main thanks has to go to the rest of the coaches and committee members who all volunteer their time to ensure that the club runs smoothly, and also to the clubs members and their parents who make the club a fun, and friendly place to be.”

Southern Counties Club Support Officer Avoen Perryman added: “I am so pleased that this grant has been awarded to such an inspirational club. Having gone from being under threat of closure just over four years ago due to having no gym, to now having a refurbished space they can call home for many years to come is a dream come true.

“I must say that the club did not have this opportunity fall out of the sky and that they would never have gotten this far if it wasn’t for the coaches and volunteers working so tirelessly to become registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, track down a new lease and consistently campaign for votes for the Aviva Fund. They are truly inspirational and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for them”