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Winning formula for gym

A community gym in Halifax has been training champions in boxing, sport and fitness for more than 15 years and helps to keep the young people that train under its roof, focussed and off the streets. The gym is situated in an area that’s considered by Government to have high levels of deprivation.

The community gym looked to strengthen the work it does with disadvantaged youths and create new links locally with key organisations to deliver more sport and fitness opportunities, by recruiting a new Community Development Officer.

It is situated in an area of high deprivation and the young people living there had already raised concerns about the lack of local activities, which led to boredom and a rise in anti-social behaviour complaints from neighbours.

A grant from Newground Together enabled the gym to hire former teacher, Joanne McNamara, who gave up a 22-year career after being inspired by the positive impact that it has on young people.

Joanne helped to develop new links with Calderdale Council’s Specialist Inclusion Team and create a ‘Jam Packed Summer’ programme that engaged around 70 youngsters, aged 6-19, through activities that transformed their personal development.

The project brought new sport and fitness opportunities to disadvantaged youths and built new community links, which has enabled the gym to partner with local SEN school, Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College – something that’s been hugely welcomed by staff, parents and carers.

The staff introduced young people to the importance of physical activity, health & wellbeing and discussions around controlling their anger and aggression. It also boosted their confidence, with those involved willing to perform punch combinations in front of the entire group, which wouldn’t happen at the very start.

Overall, the project acted as a welcome diversion that resulted in less time spent roaming the streets and a reduction in nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

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