Boxing club bids to return to glory days
Published on: 05 May 2015
PLANS to create a boxing gym and a neighbourhood hub at the former Oldbury Court Community Centre have won backing.
Downend Amateur Boxing Club has already carried out some voluntary restoration work at the disused Oldbury Court Community Centre and hopes to be granted a lease for the building.
Bristol City Council intends to hand over the centre for 15 years through a community asset transfer, allowing the club to use the building for a peppercorn rent.
Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership backs the proposal for the centre, which has been out of use for three years and has fallen prey to vandals.
Councillor Lesley Alexander said: “I think it would be a good idea to pass it over to the boxing club. As a community centre it was not well used or well supported.”
Councillor Bill Payne added: “It will be great to see the building back in use.”
Boxing coach and ex-policeman Craig Turner, the driving force behind the project, told the partnership meeting that the aim was to carry out the transformation of the building in three phases.
Once the lease is granted, the club will seek funding from Sport England, the National Lottery and others for the work.
He said: “We have got fond memories from 1993 when we trained at the community centre. The response from the local young people back then was phenomenal.
“We have got a strong enough team to take the centre back to its glory days. We believe the centre can thrive again and will be a very very good asset to the community.
“It can be used for community space as well. We want to take it back to a friendly meeting place.”
Mr Turner said his team of dedicated volunteers were looking forward to developing a facility that could engage young people and help tackle anti-social behaviour and youth obesity.
The boxing club has met in several venues since it left Oldbury Court and is currently based at Pomphrey Hill Sports Pavilion in Mangotsfield.
Mr Turner has won the support of Bristol’s Mayor George Ferguson and Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy for the project and hundreds of people have signed a petition of support.
The centre will be a not-for-profit venture, with all money being ploughed back into the club.