MP visits community club in Crawley
February 1, 2023 | by Matt Halfpenny
A Southern Counties-affiliated England Boxing club has welcomed its local MP through its doors.
Keystone Boxing Club in Crawley invited along Henry Smith, who represents the town at Westminster so he could better understand the work that goes on in boxing clubs, as well as behind the scenes.
Upon arrival, Mr Smith was greeted by staff from England Boxing as well as the coaches and board members of Keystone BC.
He wasted no time in getting to know a bit about the club and sport as a whole, discussing numerous topics from funding to classes the club runs to the club’s future aspirations.
Mr Smith was also keen to get the gloves on himself and give it a go, allowing one of Keystone’s coaches to put him through his paces and giving him the chance to learn basic footwork and combinations.
“It’s not as easy at it looks, but I can certainly see the appeal to people,” he said during his visit. “It really gives you a buzz and lets out some steam which must be brilliant after a long day at work.”
South East’s Club Support Officer, Max Segre, arranged and attended alongside England Boxing’s Head of Operations, Avoen Perryman who both felt the visit was a great success.
Segre said: ‘It’s great to meet with people in positions that can make changes within communities in order to ignite that change as well as grow the support for the sport in general.
“To have Mr Smith’s team reach out to us at England Boxing was fantastic and we hope to see many more MP’s visiting our clubs across the country.”
Keystone has been delivering boxing sessions for the community for over 25 years since the facility was first built in 1997, so it was hugely valuable to be able to chat with the local MP.
Head Coach Pat Nelson has worked at the club since the facility was built and has seen the transformation of the facility.
“I have been here for 51 years now when the facility was a youth centre, so to see how the facility has changed and getting more use than ever from all members of the community makes everything we do as a club worthwhile,” he said.
“It was great to have Henry Smith come and visit us and hopefully he will be able to assist the club in the next stages of its development with goals in the near future.”
The club boasts more than 100 members, delivers women and girls-only sessions via female coaches, and also runs a weekly Wednesday boxing class for young offenders who have been in trouble with the law, or have been identified as being at risk.
Pat also revealed how he managed to ensure there were enough coaches at the club.
He added: “I have my son and daughter running this evening’s session. Both are coaches here at the club and love the sport so it’s really nice to be able to get them involved in the running of the club and it definitely brings a really good family and community vibe to the gym.”
The club are now hoping to secure permission and funding to convert the existing and little-used basketball court opposite the gym and turn it into a multi-sports facility for the community to have somewhere new to experience new and existing sports.
If you’d like to find out more about Keystone Boxing Club, you can check out their Instagram page and contact them directly.