From community museum to first class boxing facility





Not many would see an obvious link between a 1950's museum and a 2015 top of the range boxing facility. But for Denbigh Amateur Boxing Club, it's a link that saved a much-loved club and a sport that has been popular with locals for over half a decade.

In 2010, after over 50 years of operation, the Amateur Boxing Club's future was in turmoil. New leasing proposals at the Club's former dwellings meant that the boxers needed to move from their beloved gym.

Club Trustee, Tim Ballam recalls:

"Our lease was up on the premises and we needed to find somewhere else for training. Worryingly this was proving to be quite difficult. We had been able to keep our costs very low in the past, which was great for making the club accessible to all of the local communities but with new premises came higher overheads.

"We also wanted to improve the facility and equipment that we were able to offer our boxers, but in many of the premises that we looked at the infrastructure just simply wasn't there. All options would need us to make compromises that we would never want to make."

In the same town, the community museum had also seen its fair share of bad luck. A fire had seen the museum's building burnt to the ground. As a community institution, the museum had however been given the support to see the build of a new purpose built facility.

Luckily Denbigh Amateur Boxing Club, was too seen as a community institution and the club's legacy saw its luck change. The Museum offered the Club's Trustees the opportunity to have its own purpose-built facility within the new museum build.

Tim comments:

"The Museum's Trustees sympathised with the club. We have always been a community venture; some had even been part of the club's history many years before and they were keen to keep our legacy alive. The move also saw the club become part of the museum's exhibitions, dedicating areas to 1950's sports memorabilia."

With National Lottery grants awarded by Sport Wales and funding from Denbighshire County Council, Denbigh Amateur Boxing Club very soon had its brand new facilities.  Facilities which are now seeing more locals engaging with the club than ever before and which are supporting young boxers to progress through the ranks to the top of the sporting pathway.

Tim continues:

"Things are fantastic; the new gym is fit to burst to be honest! We have members of all ages, seven to 50+, boys and girls.  We've been able to stick to our principals, keeping the club as a community venture and ensuring that we are able to cater for the local demand.  It all seems to be working.

"We've also been able to make links with other local clubs, giving our most advanced and promising young boxers the opportunity to practice against others at their level. It's really supporting their development."

When it really mattered, the local community stepped in to support this boxing club. This happened because the club kept the interests of the local community central to what it was trying to deliver. Below Tim outlines the principals that keep Denbigh Amateur Boxing club as a local institution and how this is helping it go from strength to strength.


Access over Profit

Denbigh ABC was born from a less affluent area. Cost and keeping activities affordable for the whole community had always been a priority for the club.

Utilising a shared facility and accessing financial support from bodies such as the local council and Sport Wales meant that the club could stay true to this principal.


Options for All

The club has an extremely varied membership and is consciously looking to engage with different groups within the local community, which is leading to an overall growth in membership.

Tim explains:

"We are focussing on providing progression options for our promising youngsters, but at the same time recognise that not everyone wants to fight competitively. We value those that come along for the fun and fitness just as much and our sessions reflect this. We ensure that we tailor our offering to demand.

"We are also trying hard to cater for specific groups, such as women and girls, and have linked up with a local school to support this and are now offering dedicated 'girls only' sessions".


Partner Up

The club has partnered up with many different organisations; from the museum, to the local council to other boxing clubs. Not all would have been expected, but they have played a crucial role in supporting its development and in keeping it a central part of the local community.


Providing Opportunities

Even before the club had its new top class facilities, the club supported its most promising boxers by partnering up with other local clubs. Providing opportunities to help promising youngsters remained a priority.  Now coaches have been up-skilled to support these youngsters and the boxers are all registered for competitions, but it still uses partnerships to support competitors in developing and refining skills.


Sport Wales grants to launch online applications

The way you apply for your Sport Wales funding is changing. From the 26th October you will be able to register to access the Sport Wales Grant portal, where you can apply online for Community Chest, Development Grants, Elite Cymru and National Governing Body (less than £50k) grants. The process is quick and straight forward, and your online application will be submitted directly to Sport Wales, thus reducing the time from application to funding.

Paper based or pdf applications will not be accepted after the 26th October, unless in exceptional circumstances.

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