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Boxing club in fear of being KO’d

Aa Northern Ireland this week basks in the glory of its Commonwealth boxing heroes, one promising Dundonald boxing club is fighting for its very survival.

Castlereagh Amateur Boxing Club, based at the SEELB headquarters and the former Dundonald Girls High School site, is facing a bleak future over funding — despite only opening its doors three months ago.

The club, which has proved to be a huge hit within the local community, applied for a grant of £25,000 from Sport NI — but has been told it must have a five-year lease secured to land the funds.

But the club claims that the SEELB has said that it can’t provide such a long-term deal.

Its current lease with the education body runs until next June.

With the club expected to learn of Sport NI’s decision on November 5, time is running out for the local boxing club, which has plans to roll out a number of |community-based schemes beyond the boxing ring.

Terry McCorran, who opened the club, urged the SEELB to allow “common sense to prevail” and to step in to save the club from potential closure.

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He said: “This is not about me, it’s about the youth of this area. There has to be a way around the red tape, we need people to sit down — ministers, chief executives and all involved, to find a solution.

“The kids are seeing our boxers do so well at the Commonwealth games and want to come to our club — I don’t want to have to tell them we can’t go on.

“If we lose the grant, we’ve basically lost the club.”

The boxing club, which is run by volunteers, runs a number of classes at low prices to cater for junior and senior boxers, as well as women. Those currently attending range from 16 to 55-year-olds.

It is also involved with work with a number of local schools.

The club proudly claims to “work with some young kids with self-esteem issues” and has said the results to date have been “unbelievable”.

“We’ve had nothing but positive results since we opened. Dundonald and Castlereagh have never had anything like this.

“We’ve had kids with self-esteem issues who have joined us and the difference in them is huge. They feel part of a team here, and their confidence has grown as a result. This is not just a boxing club, but a community thing. It’s about putting a positive spin on youths in the area.”

Local Ulster Unionist councillor Michael Copeland said: “Given the long a great history of amateur boxing in bringing people together throughout the Troubles, I would have thought this club was deserving of all the support that all statutory agencies could|provide. It does not appear that this has been the case here.”

At the time of going to press, no-one from the SEELB was available for comment.


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