Boxing coach aims to improve lives through the power of sport
A boxing coach and former fighter from the borough hopes his not-for-profit group based on the sweet science will have a knockout impact on people’s lives.
Dave Morris from Leigh, founded community interest company (CIC) Boxing for Better in March this year to use the noble art as a vehicle for social change.
Dave is a former amateur boxer who stepped into the ring 36 times in competitions between the ages of 11 and 19 before doing his coaching badges and taking up training fighters.
Boxing for Better CIC, though, is not necessarily about creating future champions but about how the sport can have a positive impact on lives, especially for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The organisation is running weekly free sessions in Higher Folds for young people aged 11 to 16 and Dave hopes to start launching workshops and courses in a range of other areas off the back of it.
He said boxing can have an extremely positive impact on those who take it up and decided to use it as the basis of a CIC after becoming concerned about some of the things he saw happening around him in Leigh.
Dave, 29, said: “The CIC is a bridge between communities and boxing clubs.
“A lot of people can’t access clubs but we are portable, we can take boxing anywhere. We can set up and deliver sessions in a field, a community centre, a gym, a school.
“I was also noticing that there seems to be an increase in young people getting involved in serious anti-social behaviour.
“There have been a few instances of things like knife crime.
“The problem of teenagers getting in trouble with things like that seems to be creeping closer and closer.
“My passion is to get people with strong characters who can impact society positively, and I feel boxing is a very good vehicle to achieve this.
“It’s unique in that it has that grittiness and resilience and it’s working by and for yourself.
“It’s very different to a lot of other sports and it can pick up and engage young people who are getting into negative things in a way a lot of sports can’t.
“The driving force is to help young people who aren’t necessarily doing the right things.
“We’re not a boxing club, we use boxing programmes to achieve societal goals.”
Dave also set up Boxing for Better after the amateur arm of the Astley VIP club, where he trained himself, became a casualty of the pandemic.
Local businesses and the council have helped provide funding for the Higher Folds project, which runs on Monday evenings and engaged around 50 young people in its first three weeks.
There is also a crowd-funding page online which aims to bring in £6,000 to continue the work on the estate.
The CIC is also about to begin delivering sessions for Wigan and Leigh Young Carers and it is a partnership Dave says he is keen to develop further.
Dave also wants Boxing for Better to work with the young people who are initially brought in by the activities and fitness sessions on programmes which will count towards their GCSEs or BTECs and in workshops covering subjects like financial skills, first aid and crime a
He also said the not-for-profit organisation could in future work with groups including people wanting to lose weight, single parents, those not in education, employment or training or young offenders.
To find out more or to donate to the fund-raiser, visit www.gofundme.com/f/boxing-for-better-higher-folds-community-boxing.
You can also follow the organisation on Twitter @BoxingForBetter.
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