Boxing academy backed with National Lottery funding

December 19, 2017 | by Gemma Field


A boxing academy in Birmingham’s Irish quarter is celebrating today after being awarded more than £600,000 funding to develop projects around mental health, women’s wellbeing, anti-social behaviour, children in deprived areas and youth leadership/employment opportunities.

The National Lottery awarded the club £306,000. The money, raised by players for good causes, is being distributed by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

The Pat Benson Boxing Academy, based in Digbeth, delivers physical activities such as boxing and circuit training. It was founded in 1963, previously named Small Heath Boxing Club by former boxer Pat Benson, who grew up in Ballyhaunis before moving to Birmingham. The club’s name was changed to Pat Benson Boxing Academy in honour of his BBC Unsung Hero Award win in 2010.

The National Lottery funding will be used to improve the health and wellbeing of people with mental health problems and complex needs, whilst providing young people with leadership and coaching opportunities.

Paddy Benson, Club Manager at Pat Benson Boxing Academy said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this funding will help to expand the current work we do. We want to make a real difference to even more local people, supporting those with mental health problems and complex needs by providing them with regular fitness activities to improve their wellbeing. These positive group sessions allow people to work together, enhancing their communication skills whilst getting physically and mentally healthier. Alongside this, we’ll bring in young people to give them a voice in coaching and mentoring, supporting them to develop their CVs and career aspirations. This funding will also create employment opportunities with four new job roles.”

James Harcourt, England Grant Making Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We are proud to be able to distribute National Lottery money to community projects like Pat Benson Boxing Academy that are making a real difference. When you hear about projects like this you realise the incredible impact the money generated by National Lottery players is having on communities. It really is life changing.”

Last year the Big Lottery Fund awarded almost £713 million and supported almost 14,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes.