Coaching celebration to help maximise clubs’ community impact
October 24, 2019 | by Matt Halfpenny
Coaches and club leaders at some of England Boxing’s most innovative community clubs and organisations have come together to explain how they have best engaged with people living in disadvantaged areas – in a bid to help others reach out more effectively themselves.
The ‘Celebration of Boxing in the Community’ project – funded by Sport England – has seen the thoughts and ideas of people from 60 clubs across the country collated and recorded by researchers from Sheffield Hallam University.
That evidence will then be written up into a report and the learning from it eventually embedded into England Boxing’s coach education programme over the next two years, guiding new coaches on how to structure their club in order to maximise its community impact.
The two-day conference (22nd and 23rd October), which took place in Leicester, also gave coaches the chance to network and share best practice.
Attendees – who have helped set up a range of projects including those for knife crime, mental health, anti-radicalisation, holiday hunger, assisting those with Parkinson’s and autism and making boxing more inclusive – have pledged to go back to their respective regions and share their findings with three other local clubs.
“This has been a brilliant celebration of what boxing clubs do in communities throughout England and will really benefit other coaches and clubs in the future too,” said England Boxing’s Head of Community Development, Ron Tulley.
“All our affiliated boxing clubs do fantastic work, frequently in very disadvantaged areas, but these clubs were nominated to take part because of the extent of their community engagement and what they have shared has given us some great insight that we can use going forward.”
The event featured a Celebration Dinner, which was attended by Sport England Chief Executive Tim Hollingworth.
In a speech to those in attendance, he explained how impressed he was with the community work going in across boxing clubs all around the country.
He said: “It has been great to hear the stories of so many inspirational coaches doing amazing things day in, day out for their community.
“The sport that you as coaches love and the impact that you have is making a difference; what you do matters.
“Sport can have a profound, powerful influence on people’s lives, particularly the way it can change and transform opportunity, and I can’t think of a sport that is showing that more readily and often as boxing.”
Among those to attend was Dwaynamics ABC director Lorraine Jones, who set up the organisation after her son died as a result of a knife attack.
“I feel so much more empowered with what I’m already doing and what I’m going to implement after attending,” she said.
“There have been some brilliant ideas shared by other coaches that can take Dwaynamics to a higher level – and there is so much great work going on to transform people’s lives.
“Knowing that the challenges, the successes, the tools and the issues you have are the same up and down the country makes you feel so much stronger.”
Cleethorpes Trinity Boxing Academy’s Andy Cox said he was ‘honoured to be in the same room as so many inspiring people from boxing clubs’.
He added: “For me it’s been great to share ideas and put forward something of added value that can help what everyone else is doing in other clubs.
“I have certainly taken things away from this that will add value to the projects that we are doing.”
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