A new boxing programme in Billingshurst has become a key tool in tackling boredom and mental health issues for the town’s young people.
Horsham District Council’s Billingshurst based Neighbourhood Warden Julie Green first had the idea about introducing boxing as a sports activity for the town when she experienced how having a new sport benefitted young people in her own home town.
Where I live a boxing club had been set up initially to get the young people off the streets and into a sport that would improve their fitness, mental health and self-confidence and it also has the ability to reduce crime within a local area. The club has now opened up to the wider community and is an integral part of the community, growing from strength to strength.
Julie Green, Billingshurst Neighbourhood Warden
Julie turned to the Council’s Community development team for help in setting up something similar for Billingshurst. After securing funding from The Billingshurst Lions and Billingshurst Parish Council, the boxing programme started in February this year, seeing young people become fitter, more disciplined and focussed. The programme’s mentor is coach Matt Etherington from World Boxing Council (WBC) Cares UK, an organisation which creates programmes to allow everyone to participate in boxing, regardless of age or ability.
Commenting on the programme, Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing Cllr Liz Kitchen said:
The pandemic was particularly tough for our young people and really emphasised the need to have more activities for young people to take part in locally.
I am really pleased that this initial boxing programme has been received so well in Billingshurst and that it is having such a positive effect on the young people taking part. The programme is key to providing diversionary activities to help young people learn new skills, gain confidence and extend the positive experiences into their communities and school life.
Cllr Liz Kitchen, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing
One mother commented:
My son really enjoys attending the boxing sessions run by Matt and Alfie. The sessions have helped grow his confidence, have taught him the importance of listening, respect, discipline and self- control, as well as the importance of fitness and looking after his body.
Matt and Alfie are excellent teachers who know how to get the best out of the children.
We are now looking at the prospect of starting a Boxing Club in Billingshurst with support and advice from WBC who will facilitate running it. The club would be for anyone in the community to join, and we believe will be an asset to the community of Billingshurst.