A Penwortham man is running free boxing sessions to help young people escape from gangs, knife crime and anti-social behaviour.Advertisement
Paul Morris – who is a Level 2 England boxing coach and fully qualified professional boxing trainer with the British Boxing Board of Control – started Penwortham Boxing Club in 2019.
The classes are designed to teach discipline, structure, focus, confidence, self-worth, fitness, stress relief and help with mental health.
He said: “I started teaching kids for free on Kingsfold Playing Field because nobody would help me with the kids getting into trouble. I wrote to schools, police, community centres, organisations and political parties, but nobody wanted to help me at all.
“Then people started to take notice of my help with the kids and I got offered the use of the Kingsfold Community Centre for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon.
“When the community centre started gesturing towards me needing to pay for the ‘free boxing classes’ a few hours a week when the centre was usually closed, I decided to find a permanent home for the club.”
At this point, Vernon Carus Sports Club stepped in to offer the use of an old building. With the help of Hogarths Joinery and some willing friends, Paul totally transformed the space.
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However, the cost of renovations has wiped the club out financially. With zero funding received for the project so far, Paul says the club is in desperate need of financial help to start a second phase of renovations.
“We’re in a tiny building that needs extending so we can get more people in. We also want to be able to help with transport for the kids getting to and from the club. Then the help for the kids can get even bigger and better.
“We applied for The Commissioner’s Community Action Fund at the end of last summer, but we weren’t successful. When I called for feedback they said I had missed out by a point.
“We are struggling to keep going with no funding. I desperately need help to grow the club and help more children escape from crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Kath Payne, whose son and friends attend Penwortham Boxing Club, said: “What Paul and his team have done is fantastic, and with no funding at all.
“These kids have nothing else to do in the local area other than hang around the park. They are at an impressionable age and can be easily led down the wrong path.
“Paul is trying his best to help the kids by teaching them discipline and respect, something lacking in a lot of kids nowadays.
“A bit of funding would go a huge way in helping the club and most importantly helping to keep these kids off the streets and out of trouble.
“These kids are the future, we should be supporting people like Paul who is willing to give up his time for them and who believes in every single one of them.”
Paul is planning to start the next phase of renovations in a couple of months, and has a cycling challenge planned to help raise the £10,000 needed.
He said: “I’ve decided to ride my bike from Penwortham Boxing Club to Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria – 106 miles – in one day.
“I’m doing this to raise funds and to show everybody how much I believe in my project by pushing myself to the limit.
“I’m planning it for Saturday 4 April, and would be grateful for riding partners who want to join me but we need everyone involved with our club to help raise money.
“If people can’t join the ride, they can help by sponsoring us, writing to companies to ask for funding for the ride and the club, asking their employers for sponsorship, speaking to friends and colleagues, etc.”
Penwortham Boxing Club runs free sessions every Saturday, with under 11s at 9am, and over 11s at 10am.
To find out more, follow on Facebook. To donate to the cause, visit the Go Fund Me page.
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What do you think of Paul’s efforts? Let us know in the comments.