New Saints ABC

At 11 years old in her final year of Primary school, Lauren should have been a happy, go-lucky girl. But after being bullied at school by a former friend, she found herself low in confidence and spending most of her time alone in her bedroom. Determined to change things and improve her fitness before starting Secondary School, Lauren decided to try a session at New Saints Boxing Club.

New Saints Boxing Club was started in 2015 and is run on a completely voluntary basis by Kev Bullus, his wife Jo and son, Jordan. The club operates five days a week, with sessions for everyone in the community, from non-contact for juniors (6 to 8 years old) to a competition squad.

Now 12 years old, the club has transformed Lauren’s life. “Boxing has made me fitter and happy. I have so much more confidence now. I like how friendly everyone is – volunteers, our coaches and Kev.” Lauren said.

Kev is a mechanical engineer by trade. Whilst having years of coaching experience under his belt, New Saints was the first time he had run his own gym and by his own admission “it was a steep learning curve”. The club joined Sported shortly after moving into a converted industrial unit. With an abundance of space, there was huge scope to increase the utilisation of the facility and, in doing so, create new revenue streams to support the club’s sustainability.

The first step was to pair Kev with Roger - one of Sported’s volunteer business mentors - to support the club with a grant application to Sport England. His experience and expertise proved invaluable.

“When we first sat down with Roger we’d put together what we thought was a really smart business plan that was about 12 pages long and in the nicest possible way he said ‘This isn’t going to be successful!’. We ended up with something closer to 40 pages, with lots of detailed information and which looked very professional. Chances are if we’d gone to Sport England with our original business plan they’d have probably turned it down."

Kev’s Sported volunteer mentor has left him well place to capitalise on future funding opportunities, as he explains: "We've learnt to run the club as a business. Our mentor did it the right way, he advised us but he never actually did any of it for us. He gave us a list of what we would need to include and how to go about it the right way."