How boxing brings the women in one community together
Hundreds of charities across the region are benefiting from funds raised through The Health Lottery to help them look after local communities.
One of these good causes is in Stainforth, South Yorkshire. The former mining town has no fancy gym or leisure centre, but it’s got something much more powerful – a boxing project helping women of all ages stay active.
When mums dropped their kids off to sessions such as boxing, football or basketball at the Stainforth Outdoor Activity Project, they asked if there was anything for them. So Stainforth launched the boxing scheme.
“We do boxing sessions for young people from age five to 17,” says Stainforth operations director Shaun Ireland. “But parents were saying: ‘That’s something we’d like to do.’ So we set up a ladies’ boxing class. We try to find a fitness level to suit teenage girls as well as women in their fifties. But if they’re puffed out after ten minutes it doesn’t matter. If you feel tired, you just stop and nobody blinks an eye.”
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Stainforth is one of 335 charities in the Yorkshire and Humber area that have received grants – funding from People’s Health Trust with cash raised through The Health Lottery.
Now super-featherweight world champion Terri Harper will be coaching the women, which is a real coup for Stainforth and its core of 12 female boxers. “Having Terri is going to be a massive boost for the ladies,” says Shaun.
The boxing brings women together, helping them keep fit when they don’t have the confidence or the time to go to the gym. “You’re having fun, you’re seeing friends and you’re meeting new people, which is brilliant for your mental health,” says Stainforth social media manager Sarah Brown.
Adds Shaun: “Stainforth is quite run-down and it’s got unemployment issues, but the community is quite close-knit and people do look out for each other. Not having somewhere to go in lockdown was a struggle for people, so we made exercise videos to help them keep moving.”
As lockdown began to lift, the women boxers were excited about the group being able to meet up again in person, but then Stainforth was dealt a blow. “We’ve bought a lot of training equipment, and now we can get all the gloves and heavy bags out again – all the things that make a boxing session. Then we had a break-in and a lot of our equipment was stolen, but we’re replacing it now,” says Shaun.
The grant funding has enabled Stainforth to secure a permanent base to run the sessions in the town’s old youth club. It will also help them establish new groups and projects. The Health Lottery supports 3,200 grassroots projects across Britain, and each time you buy a ticket you’re helping to raise funds for good causes. So far over £120 million has been raised, and ticket holders have won £157 million.
“People buy a ticket for The Health Lottery because they want the chance to win that big jackpot, but they make other people winners,” explains Shaun.
“The funding goes into a bigger pot and helps organisations like us. You know your money is going to a good cause – to people who need it. People want to win big, but with The Health Lottery everybody wins big, don’t they?”
‘Boxing gives women a boost’
“The women’s boxing is not just a fitness session, it’s a social thing and a break from the kids,” says Sarah Brown, the Stainforth Outdoor Activity Project’s social media manager. “Boxing gives women a confidence boost.
“Women don’t have a lot of spare time, and they don’t often get that hour to themselves, so I think just being with other like-minded people who want a bit of fun is good. It’s a nice chance to meet, have a chat and exercise together.
“So on behalf of everybody who gets the benefit of that here, thank you so much for buying your Health Lottery tickets.”
Sign up and play at healthlottery.co.uk
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