In the beautiful surroundings of Priory Park, a space that itself has excellent facilities for sport, is Priory Park Amateur Boxing Club, a charity that’s always building links within its community to give young people opportunities to excel. I paid the club a visit in the final week of its summer boot camp to see what impact it had had.
Priory Boxing Club’s summer boot camp aimed to give young people a positive outlet during the summer holidays. Linking with schools, the local policing team and residents, the club targeted young people who may be at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour through boredom and inactivity. Activities to encourage not only physical fitness but discipline and teamwork were laid on 3-days per week across the summer holidays, with an inspiring trip to the Institute of Sport for those that persevered.
When I visited, I heard some personal stories about some of the young people involved. This included vulnerable young people who were feeling quite isolated but had now come out of their shells, and others whose discipline, focus and behaviour had visibly improved. What I saw for myself was a mutually encouraging environment, with current young members acting as mentors, young people supporting each other, driving each other to do their very best.
It looks like Priory Boxing Club’s boot camp has given young people the chance to continue with sport and physical activities long after the project has finished. Most participants have joined the club long term and some will take up opportunities to develop within the club, e.g. through coaching qualifications etc.
The project seems to have opened doors: for young to continue with a new sport they’ve been able to try; for young people to develop, whether that be in the sport itself, in continuing with training or learning; for the club to consolidate links with other partners and develop its activities.
And Priory Boxing Club is set to have a state-of-the-art facility once its building extension, funded by Inspired Facilities, is complete. So the future looks good. For a long time to come, the club will be providing not only opportunities for people to take part in sport, but will have an impact in other areas: the encouragement of young people, health, wellbeing, challenging isolation, community safety.