A BOXING club which has been hailed a source of “great good” in the community has received a £30,000 council grant to construct a new clubhouse.
Weymouth Amateur Boxing Club appealed to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s management committee for the one-off grant to fill a funding shortfall in its ongoing plans to build a new centre at the Marsh playing fields.
The club, currently based in Hardwick Street, was initially granted a long lease on the site adjacent to the Moonfleet Indoor Bowls Club by the management committee in 2015 and has since been working on the project.
Despite securing significant funding from the council, and a major grant from Sport England, technical delays to the project throughout 2016 and 2017 have seen construction costs rise.
Having only raised £286,000 of the estimated £340,000 total project cost, club managers told councillors that the project may have be abandoned unless the rest of the funding can be secured.
Addressing the management committee, councillor Kate Wheller, the spokesperson for community facilities, said: “I think you will all agree that a boxing club, particularly in areas of deprivation, is a source of great good.
“There have been long delays, not entirely of their own making, in getting this project off the ground meaning that total project costs are now more than originally anticipated.”
In 2015, the committee awarded the club a £20,000 grant derived from insurance money received by the council following fire damage to the old Red Cross Hut used by both the Cougars Youth Football Club and the athletics club. As the boxing club intends to share its new premises with both clubs it was decided it was an appropriate use of the insurance money.
Cllr Wheller said: “I do think we need some very careful costing here. We do not want them coming back in six months’ time saying it has gone up again and they need another £30,000.”
Councillors unanimously approved the grant from reserves earmarked for one-off projects and they hailed the club a “benefit to the community.”
Cllr Christine James said: “There is a young girl in my ward who was experiencing difficulties. She got in contact with the boxing club and since then she has gone on to develop some really good skills, her mental health has improved and her fitness has improved.”