A boxing club is developing independent young “champions” with the help of funding from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.

Epping Amateur Boxing Club is working with young people in the district and surrounding areas to build resilience and improve their behaviours through boxing.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex provided £15,000 in the form of a crime and disorder reduction grant from the 2019/2020 Community Safety Fund to support the club’s work.

Running four nights a week by volunteer coaches, the boxing club recently moved into new a premises, which were kitted out thanks to donations.

Head coach Danny Spicer said: “The club has been thriving; it has been really busy. The children have to learn to protect themselves, it’s not about hitting people.

“My boxing club helped to raise me and make me the respectful person I am today. It is not just about physical wellbeing, but mental wellbeing as well.

“When we see boys and girls who have no self-esteem or confidence succeed, that is a champion for us; that’s as good as having a champion, if we can build their confidence.”

“It is a big ask, to get them to get in the ring in front of people and to potentially get hurt.

“They come out of that ring 10ft taller, though. They will still talk about that time when they boxed when they are 80.

“It is tough love we give them. We are doing this because we care about them and because we want them to get straight.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

Epping Amateur Boxing club is run four days a week by voluntary coaches

The boxing club, which provides a safe place for children and young people, was previously having to charge £5 per session, which was a barrier for regular attendance.

Mr Spicer said: “The PFCC funding helps us to offer our programme to those who otherwise could not afford it. Now, we can say to those young people ‘don’t worry about it, this is on us’.

“We would struggle without this funding. With the money, we have been able to make sure the rent – which is £19,000 per year - is covered.”

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said:

“It is so important for our young people to have positive role models like Danny and his team.

“Cracking down on anti-social behaviour and protecting children and vulnerable people from harm are priorities in our Police and Crime Plan.

“Activities and groups like this one really help us to give our young people the skills and confidence needed to choose the right path.”