Boxing joins forces to call for more government support for grassroots clubs
January 22, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny
England Boxing has co-signed a letter to the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston MP, urging the government to provide greater financial support to grassroots boxing clubs in 2021 to help cope with the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Written by Chris Evans MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Boxing – and also signed by representatives of the British Boxing Board of Control, Welsh Boxing and Boxing Scotland, as well as Anthony Joshua, Joe Joyce, Ricky Hatton, Teri Harper, Natasha Jonas, Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren – it calls for funding to be put in place to protect clubs impacted by a lack of income due to enforced gym closures.
The letter has also been sent to Oliver Dowden MY, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DMCS), Elena Narozanski, DCMS lead for the No.10 Policy Unit, and Stephen Barclay MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
It calls for the provision of “equitable funding and support for boxing to ensure the survival of our nation’s grassroots, community boxing clubs”.
The letter adds: “Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, boxing clubs, gyms and organisations have worked tirelessly to support their communities, but many now face economic hardship and risk being unable to reopen until restrictions are fully lifted.
“Nationally, the introduction of social distancing measures and limitations on pad work, sparring and competitions have constrained the ability of clubs to welcome members to train and raise revenue, while statistically over 40% of our nation’s clubs are in the top 20% of the most deprived areas in the UK and have limited access to external sources of funding.”
So far, a number of England Boxing clubs have been able to access funding and rate relief through local authorities, Sport England and other sources to keep themselves afloat.
But not all have been successful in securing support to the level that replaces the money lost from club shows and boxer subs, meaning there is a further need for government action.
The letter continues: “Boxing clubs offer so much more than just a space to train and are a vital part of our nation’s social fabric. Clubs not only provide pastoral and educational support to young people and adults in need, but also help to promote social inclusion, tackle criminal activity and anti-social behaviour, and deliver improvements in physical and mental wellbeing.
“The closure of boxing clubs would leave a huge void in many communities, and it is essential that the Government provides financial support to boxing to enable clubs to continue to provide vital health and well-being support to communities throughout the UK.”
Click here to read the letter in full.
Commenting on the letter, England Boxing’s Chief Executive Officer, Gethin Jenkins, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have campaigned and lobbied to get financial support for our member clubs and to get them reopened as quickly and safely as possible after lockdowns.
“Our clubs have not been able to even spar or box competitively since last March, and we thank the broader boxing community and APPG for their support in highlighting the importance of the clubs and the work they do in local communities throughout the country.”
England Boxing will continue to lobby on behalf of its members and has also submitted its phased Return to Boxing Plan, hoping to see clubs safely open as soon as possible once the current lockdown ends.
It also thanks those who have done a tremendous amount of work to support their local communities, as well as following the guidelines and adapting to provide as much activity and exercise as possible for their members.