Heart of Portsmouth Amateur Boxing Club

05 August 2021

The Heart of Portsmouth Amateur Boxing Club provides a pathway for people in their neighbourhood to progress in their own journey, whether that be building confidence, becoming a coach or pursuing boxing as a career with Team GB.

The club, which has received funding through People’s Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery South East, is an inclusive space which aims to provide everyone with the opportunity to find their passion through boxing.

Since 2015, People’s Health Trust has been funding Heart of Portsmouth Amateur Boxing Club. The most recent funding supports their Women and Girl’s Project which focuses on engaging socially isolated women and girls primarily from Asian and Muslim communities with boxing and other fitness activities which are accessible to all cultures, ages and abilities.

A management group of local women and girls runs the project, and the passion of the volunteers and coaches has made it a huge success and an integral part of the community.

The boxing club has been open in Southsea, Portsmouth since 2008. It has attracted thousands of attendees from the local area and played a crucial role in providing opportunities for people living in neighbourhoods experiencing high levels of disadvantage.

One of the benefits of the boxing club is the access it provides to develop new skills outside of the traditional education setting.

Quinton Shillingford, Head Coach, Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Club said:

“In our Women and Girl’s Project we’ve trained hundreds of young people and one of the great benefits is being able to teach them a new skill. We work directly with a girl’s school who are doing boxing as part of their GCSE’s, we also have attendees who have been excluded from their schools but have a passion for boxing and are able to get a recognised qualification with us that will help them access more opportunities later in life.”

The majority of the club’s attendees are recreational but for dozens it has provided a path to a career in boxing. Kerry Davis, a full-time middleweight boxer for Great Britain and part of the elite English squad, started training at the Portsmouth Club aged 14.

Quinton Shillingford said:

“People like Kerry Davis are an inspiration to the women and girls who train with us. Boxing isn’t just a sport for men and it isn’t just a recreational hobby if you don’t want it to be. I grew up in a difficult time when racism and discrimination really impacted me. Boxing gave me something to focus on and grow in confidence and now I’ve been able to work in my passion for 47 years. That is the opportunity this project funded by People’s Health Trust can give to women and girls in this area.”

As well as opening up a new skill set to people, the club is also helping tackle social isolation and mental health issues. Women of all ages have joined the club through this programme and have benefitted from having the centre on their doorstep.

Forming strong social connections is an important first step in tackling health inequalities which lead to reduced life expectancy in areas experiencing high levels of disadvantage. The Heart of Portsmouth Amateur Boxing Club has helped residents form strong bonds and benefit from being part of a group.

The club continues to go from strength to strength providing training to people in the community. Following COVID-19 they are looking forward to restarting coaching sessions for disabled people, working with more schools and supporting more people to forge a career path in boxing.

You have already completed an application for funding, are you sure you would like to submit another application? You should only submit another application if it is for a different project. If you want to amend an application that has already been submitted, please call us on 020 7749 9100.

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