Marden Boxing Club

Completed: 2019
Location: North Shields, Tyne & Wear
Region: North East
Other local partners: Sport England, Gateshead College

About the project

Marden is a community boxing club based in an old church hall that was built in the 1930s. Located in one of the most disadvantaged wards in Newcastle, Marden gives local young people a safe environment in which to train, compete or just make and see friends.

In April 2019, 17 young students from Gateshead College volunteered to help improve the centre as a VIY-Sport England partnership project. None of them had visited the boxing club before. They helped to increase the size of the main gym, removed a partition wall, and extended the training area into an old kitchen space. They also created a new changing room in a disused storeroom and installed new cubicles in the bathrooms.

This work has allowed the club to host extra participants, as well as to improve safety, at their training sessions. They are also now able, for the first time, to attract female boxers to the club due to the newly-created separate changing rooms and toilet facilities.

Dean Preston, manager and coach at Marden Boxing Club, explains: “The project has been a great success and a massive boost for the club. As a not-for-profit community club, we depend on external support. VIY and Wickes have been amazing. We have managed to increase our space and give existing and new members a safer facility to train in. Without their help none of this would have been possible.

All 17 college students/young volunteers earned a City & Guilds Health & Safety accreditation as a result and Allen Hooker, their course tutor at Gateshead College, said: “The learners were buzzing about volunteering on this project and can’t wait to be involved in more opportunities like this at the club and with VIY down the line.”

The facility has improved tenfold. Our female members have a more secure and private area to change and better washroom facilities. The additional room in the gym mean we have been able to establish a less frantic session and more space for members to train comfortably. Also, since the project we have had a huge influx of new members mainly in our junior section and they have mentioned it was as a direct result of the community project Dean Preston, Manager & Coach, Marden Boxing Club