Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club

Manchester

Conner Tudsbury is a national junior boxing champion, but with a promising boxing career ahead of him, his prospects haven’t always been so bright.

“When I was little I was very hyper-active. I was always getting into trouble and getting into fights and my mum decided to take me along to the boxing club [Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club]. I’ve been here for eight years and it’s been amazing. Some of the people I know are drinking, smoking and doing illegal stuff and I probably would have ended up doing the same if I didn’t have the boxing club.”

HOW MOSS SIDE FIRE STATION HELPED

The club was set up by Nigel Travis and his fellow firefighter Curtis McLardie, who converted a disused garage at the station into a gym to try and engage with young people in the Moss Side area, break down barriers in the community, and combat anti-social behaviour and gang-related activity.

Firefighters run the club in their own time and aim to encourage the values and attributes of being a firefighter – courage, discipline, dedication, focus and respect for others.

Nigel Travis, co-founder of the club, said: “He [Conner] was having some problems but he found sanctuary at the club and his behaviour starting improving, he started going to school and everything changed for the better. We’re really proud of what he’s achieved but whatever happens in the future, what Conner has learned with us will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life.”

HOW SPORTED HELPED

Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club offered 18 sessions a week and was running at full capacity due to coaching capacity and the size of the gym. But they knew there was potential to extend its reach and benefit a wider audience. They recognised that to be sustainable and meet the demand for growth they needed to have clear long-term plans.

The club joined Sported’s Box On programme in partnership with England Boxing. As part of the programme they were partnered with a local Sported volunteer business mentor, who supported Nigel and the club to produce a clear a strategy and business plan to implement their vision over the next three years.

With a robust business plan in place they were awarded a Sport England grant which funded the training of a group of young people who were at high-risk of becoming NEET to become Level 1 boxing coaches. The young volunteers support delivery of the club’s outreach provision within local schools, providing role models and peer mentors. The business plans continue to add value, providing the foundations for large capital grant applications for the expansion of the gym.