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James DeGale at the opening of Powerday Hooks Amateur Boxing Club in Acton

A champion visit and outreach work ‘hooks’ boxing fans

A boxing champion helped to unveil a new home for a successful amateur boxing club. It was a real community effort because it was opened with the help of local volunteers and organisations.

IBF World Super Middleweight Champion and Olympic gold medallist James DeGale was there when Powerday Hooks Amateur Boxing Club officially moved into a building in Popes Lane, Acton. It meant the club finally had into a permanent home after nine years without one – despite being very active in the community and also producing successful amateur boxers.

It was achieved thanks to support from Ealing Council’s Ealing Common and South Acton ward forums, Sport England and nearby Actonians sports club; and sponsorship and support from Powerday. It also had the help of local people who volunteered through the council’s community website Ealing Bubble at www.dosomethinggood.org.uk

The Ealing Bubble website champions local, grassroots projects, helping to connect local people with groups working hard to make their bit of the borough a better place to live. It also provides community groups a way to find volunteers, or to pull support together for a local project; and it helps residents to find opportunities to get involved.

The building in Acton needed converting to make it suitable for the club, and to be modernised. Volunteers were needed to muck in and get their hands dirty to get the work done, and Ealing Bubble helped find some. Powerday funded the new changing facilities and training equipment, with support from the ward forums and Sport England.

Working to make champions – and good citizens

The club has produced 30 champions in the past as well as carrying out voluntary work in the community to help young people avoid getting into trouble – work it now intends to extend thanks to its new headquarters.

Indeed, although it has one of the largest memberships in London boxing, the club is also involved in a variety of outreach work with other agencies, such as the council’s sport development team.

The new gym will allow the club to open longer to make it more available to use for intervention work and also attract new people to sport – with extra coaching sessions.

Through close association over the last six years with the family of Luke Fitzpatrick (who, tragically, was stabbed to death by a group of young people) the club has also staged events to raise awareness about knife crime and to honour Luke’s memory. The new headquarters will be used to encourage young people to take part in controlled and disciplined sporting experiences and also social activities, with the aim of breaking down barriers and helping them to build positive new relationships.

Powerday Hooks’s head coach Steve Newland said: “We have, over nine years, produced 30 national champions, which is a great achievement. But our impact in providing positive activities for the community and young people has also been inspirational and a focus of our voluntary provision, which we can now extend within our own premises without our previous restrictions on time, access and equipment.”

The club was founded by Mr Newland in 2009, just after James DeGale had won his Olympic gold medal in Beijing. Steve had coached and mentored James to this Olympic success and had a desire to establish his own club.

“I would recommend Steve Newland to any young person to act as a mentor or coach,” said Mr DeGale. “I would recommend him to any person seeking to develop and reach their aims and objectives, because he is inspirational and committed to the club’s provision of enjoyable and structured coaching.”

Use Bubble for projects big and small

Council leader Julian Bell said: “The new Ealing Bubble website is about pulling together in one place lots of ways that local people can make a real difference. The new Bubble website can show you how to get started.

“People might be surprised at how easy it is to do their bit. Big or small, it all counts. And if you are part of a local group and want people to be part of it, go on to Bubble and upload your project so other people can hear about it.”

Go to www.dosomethinggood.org.uk/ to take a look at and see what you could do.

Find out more about the work of local ward forums at www.ealing.gov.uk/wardforums

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