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PCC saves inspirational boxing club in Waterlooville by leasing police estate

20 February 2024

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, is delighted to have leased an unused police building to a local boxing club which is having a positive impact on young people in the local community.


The Commissioner decided to help save and expand Waterlooville Boxing Club (WBC) last year by leasing a derelict space which used to be a café and formally a Post Office.


The new home of the club opened its doors last September and since then the membership has doubled. The club began in the late 1960s and has been running for more than 50 years. Its new location in St George’s Walk Waterlooville, welcomes approximately 125 individuals every week. The majority are aged 15-19 years old but some members are as young as nine.


On Friday 16 February 2024, the Commissioner visited the club to recognise its important role in the community, alongside Suella Braverman MP, and Councillor Gwen Robinson.


PCC Donna Jones said: “The lease to extend the club is set at a modest rate, which has allowed Waterlooville Boxing Club to bring the property back into use, to maintain it, and to really make a difference in the lives of local young people.


“It has been wonderful to meet the young boxers and see for myself how the building has been re-vamped. I’m pleased to have been able to provide the owners with an opportunity to inject new life into part of the police estate.


“Boxing is a sport close to my heart. My paternal grandfather founded Waterlooville Boxing Club in the 1960s and my maternal grandmother used to work in the café on the site.  It teaches discipline and can give young people a sense of belonging and community. Having something positive to focus on is often the impetus young people need to stay out of trouble.


“There are plans for the police to be able to refer young people into the boxing club and so the club can, in turn, support these young people by providing role models and a positive outlook on life.”


Club Secretary and coach, Garry Bird, has been involved since 2016: “We give young people somewhere to go and something to be part of, like a big extended family. The boxing club is very good for their confidence, keeps their head in a good place and helps them feel valued.


“The new location is such a busy area so that’s great for our numbers which have grown organically. We’re making a real difference here.”


The PCC recently announced funding for a range of intervention projects across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to prevent crime totalling nearly half a million pounds. Havant Borough Council was one of the successful recipients with £5K going to Waterlooville Boxing Club for a new boxing ring.


PCC Donna Jones added: “Young people often have to navigate difficult and challenging situations at a time when they’re questioning their place in the world. It’s absolutely critical that community projects and sports teams like this exist to help young people make positive life choices. I’m really pleased to be supporting Waterlooville Boxing Club which is having such a fantastic effect in the area.”