Bracebridge Boxing Club - Looking at the Impact of a Together Fund grant
Emma Tatlow, Active Lincolnshire CEO writes about her visit to Bracebridge Boxing Club to see the impact of the club on participants and the difference to the club a grant from the Together Fund has made.
Through the ‘Together Fund’ Sport England programme, Active Lincolnshire has supported nearly 100 clubs over the past three years with small grants. The aim of the fund has been to break down barriers in participation of physical activity, helping clubs and providers who need the support most to enable them to provide opportunities for more people to participate.
Bracebridge Boxing Club received a grant of just over £5,000, and on an autumnal Wednesday night I went along to see what difference the grant had made. Mark, the coach had been in touch with me before the visit and said ‘come along and join in the session’. It was my first ever experience of walking into a boxing club, so I faced the same nervousness and worries as anyone else might going through the doors for the first time.
As soon as I arrived, I realised I had no reason to worry. The club was packed, people in every space- warming up, catching up with each other, getting themselves ready for the evening session. The place had a definite air of sweaty bodies and hard working people - the energy and positive vibes were strong. The ring is in the middle of the room with punch bags surrounding it - literally every piece of kit was in use.
I met Mark who showed me around the two-story building that was once a church. Denny Oliver set up the Club in 1976, and a couple of members have been attending since the early days. The Active Lincolnshire Together fund grant funded lots of kit for the club, including gloves for adults and children, headguards, mouthguards and the bags. Mark said
Before the funding we were limited on our gloves and bags and those we have are well used we didn’t always have enough gloves and bags for members; their faces lit up when they came in and saw all of the new kit. We’ve been able to provide equipment to everyone and increase capacity at sessions for up to 50 from 30, allowing them to attend multiple sessions and increase our membership.
I had a chat with the longest standing, and first female member, Jemma – she couldn’t quite recall when she started, but it was somewhere around 20 years ago. In that time she has competed and now goes to keep up her fitness. Jemma's 5 year old daughter attends the children’s sessions, already with a feisty jab hand!
Mark got me in the ring and showed me a few punches and techniques before I went and shared a bag with Niamh and got stuck into the session. There was a few minutes of boxing on the bag, before everyone did 10 reps of various drills – burpees, squat jumps and the like. The members around me were thrashing them out and super fit! But there was a range of experiences and fitness levels in the room – absolutely anyone and everyone is welcomed and encouraged at the club.
There are 9 coaches at the club including one pro coach. They spend hours at the club every week; training, supporting and helping members – even taking them around the country to amateur matches so that they can progress. Pictures of all of the coaches and Safeguarding leads are on the wall as you enter the club, giving you the confidence that it’s well run and professional. There are circuit and weight training sessions every night of the week and children’s clubs at the weekend. There were around 50 in when I was there, a quiet night is about 20.
Members and coaches told me how the club benefits them, from helping their mental health, giving them more self-confidence to making friends for life. And then of course there’s the fitness, it’s a tough but really enjoyable way to work out and move more. I left the session on a high, the atmosphere, the music, the positive spirit and passion was palpable.
We’re delighted to have been able to support the club, and wish them every success in continuing to thrive and support local people to live happier healthier lives.
Find out more about the club on their facebook page.