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St. Paul’s Boxing Academy promotes health, fitness and social inclusion in a safe boxing-based environment.
We spoke with Head Coach, Mike Brumby, to find out more about their work.
Can you tell us a bit about St. Paul’s Boxing Academy?
The gym was established in 1948, so we turn 70 this year. Open seven days a week, everyone who works for us is completely voluntary and all of the coaches and support staff kindly donate their time to run, clean and fundraise for the gym.
Everything we do is for our members, of which we have over 370. This is what drives us, we see the huge impact the community and boxing lifestyle has on everyone that steps foot in here.
Around 60 of these individuals compete. Currently, we have a team out in Denmark and one in Manchester. This is a fantastic opportunity for them, as they are building and developing life skills whilst seeing the world, and that’s what life is all about.
Is boxing suitable for all ages?
Absolutely! Our membership is very diverse and includes kids aged five to those aged over 60. We have men and women from all different ethnic backgrounds – around 36 nationalities, I believe.
The gym is here for everybody and everyone is welcome.
Of course, boxing promotes health and fitness, but is it more than that?
Definitely. We’re a boxing gym, but we’re not just a boxing gym.
Not only do we help people to stay active, it’s also about building confidence, self-esteem and making strong friendships.
We aim to build a foundation for the youth of today. At the end of the day, you are only what you do in life and you have to rely on yourself, you can’t blame everybody else for what is going wrong. We try to instil these morals into our youngsters so that they take them away and teach their children the same.
Nowadays, there’s quite a lot of crime; you see it on the TV, on social media. What we try to do is educate these young people to be friendly and respectful.
The sporting element gets you off your backside, get out into the world and make a change if you want that to happen. This can be applied to all aspects of life, whether it’s getting up in the morning and brushing your teeth or heading out for a job interview.
How can people get involved?
You can contact us on Facebook or pop in to see us in the city centre. We have a lot of different sessions tailored to each individual group, from general adult fitness, to kids boxing and 9-13 youth fitness. We also run female-only sessions.
Everybody is welcome, we always stress that.
How can people help you guys out?
We’re looking to fundraise to get the gym into the 21st century. The volunteers do the best that they can but there’s no denying that the building is old and needs a good refurbish. You can help us out by donating or spreading the word about our Next Chapter campaign.
Why should people come along to one of your sessions?
Everyone has their own individual reasons for coming along. Over my 46 years as a coach, I’ve realised that it’s not just about sporting success, it’s about life success.
We’re a community and we’re there for you if you want to lose weight, learn about nutrition or just have a reason to get up and feel motivated.
I think, at some point or another, we all need a little guidance in life, and this is what we do.
Don’t hang back, push yourself forward!
Find out more about St. Paul’s Boxing Academy.