The financial security of boxing clubs in some of England’s most economically deprived areas has been given a major boost with the roll-out of Box On, a Sport England funded programme developed in partnership between England Boxing and Sported.
‘The noble art’ of boxing is famous for its proud tradition of developing young people’s skills, discipline and attitudes, both in and outside of the ring. Box On was developed to ensure that young people who historically face barriers to sporting participation, including girls, disabled people and those from lower socio-economic areas, continue to benefit from the power of sport by ensuring their local boxing clubs remain open, accessible and financially sustainable.
Ron Tulley, Head of Development at England Boxing, said: “Box On is all about investing in boxing clubs’ long-term sustainability. It’s not about quick fixes or short-term programmes. Rather, helping club leaders develop the business skills, knowledge and practices they need to make the most of investment opportunities and safeguard the long-term future of their clubs.”
Sport England is funding Sported to manage and deliver Box On following its successful pilot in 2015.
Box On is a unique grant-support programme, focused on helping boxing clubs improve their capability to secure and effectively utilise grants and funding. Each of the nine boxing clubs on the pilot benefitted from a carefully tailored package of member services from Sported, including a two-day workshop on capacity building and club development, and three months of one-to-one professional support from a Sported volunteer mentor to develop a robust three-year business plan. On completion, each club became eligible to apply for a £7,500 grant from Sport England as part of its 2013-17 whole sport plan investments.
Following the pilot, Box On is now being rolled out to a further 60 Sported boxing club members across England.
Paul Steele, project lead on Box On at Sported, adds: “By leveraging Sported’s membership network, volunteers and sector knowledge, we are helping England Boxing extend its support to boxing clubs serving young people who may otherwise find it difficult to access sporting provision. These boxing clubs are vital assets for their communities and provide life-changing opportunities. Box On will lay the foundations for their continued growth and success.”
Phil Smith, Director of Sport, Sport England, says: “Following last year’s successful pilot, we believe Box On will help us to reach people living in some of England’s most deprived areas, and enable them to become more active.
Boxing is currently having a resurgence, and boxing clubs have an important place at the heart of communities, often where our funding is most needed. This money will support these clubs to become more self-sufficient, ensuring they can continue to serve their local community for years to come.”
CASE STUDY: One Nation Community Centre, Sheffield
One Nation Community Centre was founded by Wajid Nazir and Israr Asif to provide young people with positive diversionary activities, in response to escalating criminal activity in the local area. It was soon having a dramatic impact, with a 53% reduction in local anti-social behaviour being credited to the opening of the club.
Despite its success and a growing number of participants, key operational challenges were limiting the club’s growth – its facilities were in need of urgent repair, it lacked adequate changing rooms and revenue streams were limited.
To overcome these challenges, One Nation joined the Box On pilot. As part of the package of support offered by Sported, the club was awarded a volunteer business mentor to develop a robust business plan and assist with their grant application.
One Nation subsequently went onto to successfully secure a £7,500 grant from Sport England and match-funding from a variety of other funders and stakeholders, enabling the club to completely refurbished its facilities and make it wheelchair accessible.
Wajid Nazir, Chair at One Nation Community Organisation, said: “When we joined Box On we had a basic business plan, but with the help of Sported and England Boxing we were able to develop a much more long-term approach. Our Sported volunteer mentor was brilliant – she prioritised what we needed to do and opened our eyes to the fact we had to build new partnerships to generate new revenue. Undoubtedly, the support and funding from Box On has been the catalyst for our recent growth.”