A string of Maverick Stars Trust-funded Fit and Fed projects have been staged at boxing clubs around the country, ensuring it was a happier Christmas for hundreds of youngsters.
The free sessions featured training with England Boxing-qualified coaches followed by the serving of a hot meal, with a total of 14 clubs taking part.
In the Tyne, Tees and Wear region, Leam Lane ABC held its first ever Fit and Fed event on 27th December – and it was a huge success in bringing all ages of the community together.
Over the three hours the gym was open, an estimated 100 people attended.
Parents brought children along and existing boxers invited their friends along who have never been to the club before.
An hour’s training and exercise was then followed with the kitchen being opened up to everyone.
“People in the community donated all kinds of items, from pans of homemade soup to cakes, pot noodles, sandwiches, crisps and much more,” said coach Gary Robson.
“On leaving, every child was given a selection box which topped off a brilliant day an absolute brilliant idea from England Boxing and Maverick Stars for the Grant we have now decided we will do this again during all school holidays The club have plans to run a similar session during all school holidays.
Fellow North East club North Road Gym ABC was also pleased to open its doors to the local community via a Fit & Fed project.
The club offered the chance to train at the gym for free and also get a meal after training, with four two-hour sessions held over the Christmas break.
“When we heard about the initiative, we were eager to be involved and help out,” said coach Johnny Woods. “We often spend our year focused on developing competing boxers and it is easy to forget about how a boxing club like ours can help the surrounding community and those who find it hard over the Christmas period.
“Although our sessions were not fantastically attended from a new visitor perspective, we did have six or seven people call through the doors for the first time and that was a win for us.
“All of our purchased food that was leftover after the sessions we donated to a local food bank to make sure it helped those in need.”
Other clubs in the region to take part are Billingham Boxing Club whose work is detailed here and Seaham Boxing Club, from the Sunderland area.
At Southern Counties Club Inner City ABC in Southampton, the Fit and Fed project went down a storm.
The club is right in the middle of one of the most disadvantaged areas of England, and was oversubscribed within a week of announcing its plans for the project, with parents signing up their children who might otherwise have been inactive and hungry over the holidays.
Head Coach and project deliverer Gino Piccinino ran eight sessions for 25 young people each day, where they took part in a three-hour session, boxing training for the first hour, followed by a healthy group lunch.
The final hour saw a community-themed workshop on topics such as knife crime awareness, healthy cooking, fire safety and emotional wellbeing.
The sessions were a great success with three coaches and two club volunteers coming down to each day to help out.
“We would like to thank the Maverick Stars Trust for their support from the bottom of our hearts,” said Piccinino. “The sessions, gifts and T-shirts provided by the Trust made a world of difference to the young people, who otherwise would not have had a lot this Christmas.”
In the Midlands South Wye Police ABC, were delighted to be able to present a pair of brand new boxing gloves for all of participants on Festive Fit and Fed – thanks to Maverick Stars Trust and partners West Mercia Police.
“We were very lucky to have England Boxing Talent coach and Midlands Club Development Officer Mick Maguire visit us to present everyone with their gifts,” said coach Vince McNally.
“We would like to thank Titchy Warne, who works tirelessly on all of our registrations for our boxing courses.”
The coaching team was made up of Dave Beaumont, Paul Catten, Jake McNally, Danny Bardsley, while the ‘wonderful’ cooking was done by Sarah Price.
Birmingham-based O’Dell’s Community Pride ABC held a series of community events over Christmas, with its Fit and Fed project a important part of that.
Tina and Craig O’Dell have fed more than 175 people with several Christmas parties, presents been given to a large number of local kids and even they’re own ice rink in the gym!
Several clubs in the North West, Merseyside and Cheshire and Yorkshire regions also took part in the Fit and Fed scheme with the help of the Maverick Stars Trust.
Coppull-based Jennings Gym, Manchester’s Moss Side Fire Station, Liverpool’s Gemini ABC, Kirkdale ABC and Lee Jones ABC and Bradford’s Unity Boxing Academy.