Tackling Inequalities Fund: How we’ve benefited – Preston and Fulwood ABC

September 29, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny


When something as unexpected as the Coronavirus Pandemic comes along, it throws plans into turmoil. That’s why North West region club Preston and Fulwood ABC have been so pleased to be given a grant from the Sport England-funded pot, as secretary, treasurer and coach Garry Bully explains.

Outdoor expansion

We operate out of a community centre that is owned by the council and are thankful that we have full use of that room.

But it is still only a relatively small indoor area that we have, so being able to expand and get extra equipment that can help us train outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic has been invaluable.

With the pandemic, we have tried to make it smaller groups, but with more sessions – and maximising the space outside has helped us do that.

We have purchase astroturf matting to put down outside, providing a suitable surface to work on and helping with grip.

It’s also not a problem if it rains during a session as the water just soaks through and it soon dries.

COVID-safe inside

For inside, we have been able to but equipment that has helped make the gym COVID-safe.

We have purchased sanitising equipment to ensure the boxing gear is cleaned down both in between sessions and at the end of sessions as well.

We have a thermometer to check people’s temperature before they come in, making sure they are clear of one of the symptoms of COVID-19.

And we’ve also bought a fogging machine that we regularly at the end of each day to make sure that we give the whole gym a deep clean ready for use again the next day.

That is particularly helpful as we have sessions every day of the week including beginners, ladies-only, squad sessions, fitness training, kids’ sessions and open sessions.

A new outlook

Some of the equipment, such as fork rollers and resistance bands, we had never used before the pandemic.

But this money has allowed us to get some and now we are looking to get some more because they have been a big success.

We have thought about things in a different way because we have had to, and tried to, adapt as best we can.

A club embedded in its community

The club dates back to a formation in 1972 and has been involved with the community ever since.

I have been helping to run things for the last 15 years and it’s always great to see the developments that the boxers make.

We have eight qualified coaches and typically between 25 to 40 boxers regularly coming through our doors.

It dropped off a little after the gym was forced to close due to Coronavirus, but thankfully it has started to pick up again now.

The importance of getting a Tackling Inequalities Fund grant…

Laura (Sargeant, Club Support Officer) was very helpful in helping us apply for this money and we’re very thankful we have got it. Without it, I don’t think we would have been able to re-open.

This money has allowed us to do that and will also give us some breathing space in terms of our rent.

Because staff at the local council have been put on furlough, we haven’t found out exactly what will be happening with our rent as yet, which we currently pay yearly.

But we have been able to put some aside from this grant, which will help see us through a difficult time. It makes sure we stay open so we can carry on doing all we can to deliver a good education in health and fitness in a safe manner.

We are situation in an area of high deprivation and our classes help the community to engage with each other under the club’s all-inclusive ethos.

About the Tackling Inequalities Fund

Preston and Fulwood ABC is one of more than 65 clubs in some of the country’s most deprived communities to which England Boxing has distributed £150,000 from the Tackling Inequalities Fund, funded by Sport England. All clubs given grants had either received no other funding, or were in a critical situation where other funds had been exhausted.

You can find out more by clicking here, or contact the England Boxing Club Support Officer in your region.