St Paul’s boxing club transformation – what a privilege to have played our part!25-05-2021
When we first learned about the work of the St Paul’s boxing club, back in 2017, we were just bowled over by its great work.
Our Founder and CEO, Nick Miller, was hugely moved when he attended a networking event to hear the club’s lead trainer, Mike Bromby, talk about plans for a fundraising campaign to help it keep going.
Mike was joined, that night, by a number of other advocates for St Paul’s, including Hull entrepreneur and owner of the Bambu scaffolding company, Alex Hall, who described how it had helped him get his life on track and made him the success he is today.
And, clearly, many fellow business leaders were as touched as Nick was because, together, and with input from a number of other funding bodies like Hull City Council, Sport England and charities, we’ve managed to get the historic venue to where it needs to be.
A total of £1million has been raised since then, and this overwhelming show of support has enabled the complete refurbishment of the club’s ‘home’, next door to Hull Minster in the city centre.
The roof has been replaced, making it water – and pigeon – tight, and the interior roof space has been restored to reveal the impressive vaulted ceiling in all its glory. A new boxing ring and training kit have been installed; as have new heating, a new kitchen, showers and changing facilities; a proper, glass-fronted viewing platform for spectators and coaches to watch the members in action, and high-tech video recording equipment to enable athletes to record and review their sparring sessions in order to improve their technique. The installation of a disabled lift will also enable St Paul’s to open its doors to a wider segment of the community, so that more people can benefit from its unique magic.
Nick had no hesitation, on first learning about the plans, in getting James Legal involved, and it’s been our pleasure to support the club with everything from branded sports kit to helping with fundraising dinners.
“I just think what this club does is incredible,” he said.
“There are literally hundreds of young people, from all areas of the city, who’ve benefited from its coaching and nurturing, not just in boxing skills, but also life skills like self-belief, achieving their potential and doing the right thing.
“Getting involved was an absolute no-brainer for us, and it’s been an honour to be part of the journey, along with a number of other local businesses that, like us, believe in giving something back to our community.”
Established in 1948, St Paul’s Boxing Academy, based in a gym on Church Side, has become a foundry for champions of the sport, including Olympic Gold Medallist Luke Campbell and Commonwealth lightweight title holder Tommy Coyle.
However, perhaps even more importantly, it has produced hundreds of ‘champions in life’, setting young people, whatever their background, on the path to success.
Now that the club’s facilities are more fit-for-purpose, its team are making them available to the wider community, including people living with mental or physical challenges. They’re also forging fresh links with likeminded organisations with similar goals, such as the Cat Zero charity, which uses sail training as a vehicle to help young people who are struggling to fit in, develop a sense of purpose and teamwork. Cat Zero are now planning to use the gym every fortnight as part of their initial three-month training programme.
John Rutherford, Director of John Good and Sons Ltd in Hull and a St Paul’s trustee, said: “The support we’ve received from businesses like James Legal has been unbelievable. More than £300,000 of the total was raised locally from companies, charities and our supporters running fundraising events, it’s been incredible.
“We can’t thank everyone enough and the support they’ve given will enable us to help many more people – of all ages – for many years to come.”
Mike Bromby added: “Our goal is to have at least 1,000 people using the gym each year and we’d just urge as many people as possible to get involved, whether they’re interested in boxing itself, want to get fitter or simply to benefit from the social aspects of being part of a really positive, supportive community of people.”
The club currently has a membership of 275, which is growing rapidly, according to John, with plans to further build participation among girls. While the refurbishment was ongoing, and COVID-19 lockdowns made training at the club itself impossible, John explained how trainers like Mike were running outdoor sessions in local parks, and offering online classes via social media which received tens of thousands of hits.
The club now has 20 adult coaches, who regularly give up their time to run sessions throughout each week, and they are running as many classes as possible again, while observing COVID-secure guidelines, gradually easing restrictions in line with England Boxing rules.
Other new partnerships they have forged include Hull College, Hull’s Aspire Academy and local NHS mental health services.
Our Managing Director, Simon Young, added: “At James Legal, we’re passionate about supporting our local community and it’s hard to imagine an organisation that has done more for the Hull area than St Paul’s.
“It’s wonderful to see it going from strength to strength in this way and we’d urge as many people as possible to get involved and be part of the club’s exciting next chapter.
Read more here about the stunning transformation of St Paul’s.
The team are appealing for still more businesses and other supporters to get involved, and to contribute to the day-to-day running of the bigger and better St Paul’s, now that the one-off costs of the refurbishment have been met. You can discover more and register your interest by visiting their website www.stpaulsboxing.co.uk.