“We barely get any!”: Chairman of country’s biggest boxing club bemoans lack of funding

THE chairman of the largest boxing club in the country has criticised the lack of funding available, estimating it to be “only one per cent of our turnover”.

Mr Lenny Hagland, chairman of the Islington Boxing Club, said “We don’t get much funding at all – we get one grant of £8,000 and we don’t see £4,000 of it. It goes from one department of the council to the other in rent and other costs.”

“We’re the biggest boxing club in the country by membership but only one per cent of our turnover comes in the form of a grant and that’s not statutory, we have to earn it”.

Islington Boxing Club is the largest of its kind in the country by membership, currently boasting around 400 competitive and 600 recreational members.

Mr Hagland believes that publicity surrounding London 2012’s boxing successes, such as Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua, has not translated into enough funding for the clubs that produce future talent.

“Yes, there’s been some more funding into amateur boxing, but it’s mainly at the top end, not much of it has filtered down.

Mr. Hagland said that funding “makes a huge difference, but the problem is that it’s not guaranteed. Not even 5% of our turnover, so we have to make it through our own fundraising.

“We generate 95% of our own funding. Every grant we apply for we have to work hard for. We’re not reliant on grants to keep us going.

The club was also recently recognised as Regional Satellite Club of the Year by Sport England for their work with around 25-30 pupils at a nearby girls’ school.

The club received £3980 from Islington Council through a scheme called “Sportivate”, which aims to provide the club £29,000 over 2014 and 2015 for their work introducing new participants into the sport.

Islington Council were also able to grant the boxing club a grant of £8,000 under a Section 106 (Town and Country Planning Act 1990) agreement, for building works at the club.

“We needed a new lick of paint out the front, new showers in the men’s rooms and to upgrade the women’s changing facilities, because the female side of things has exploded.”

“We used to only have one toilet and one shower, and that just won’t do. We’ve now completed the works, but we needed to put in £8.5k of our own money as well as the grant. The lady’s showers came to £17,000. They’re fantastic, they’re big, lovely.

“The next step now, is the men are going mad! So we now need to do the men’s showers, which will take another £5,000 out of the club’s funds.

Sport Islington also provided the club with a one off grant of £1000 in early 2014 as part of a yearly funding round. The club is eligible to seek the grant again for 2015.

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Author: Louis Doré

Freelance Journalist studying at City University, London on MA Newspaper Journalism.

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