Boxers need new club after dispute

Members of Benny's Amateur Boxing Club were locked out from training at Highbury Vale Community Centre on Sunday January 17. ''From left, Kurtis Lowe  21,  Matthew Hutchinson, 21, Harvey Sturton, 12,  Kie Occleshaw-Jones, 13, Nathan Sturton, 16, Frank Alex, 18, Callum McKelvie, 12.

Members of Benny's Amateur Boxing Club were locked out from training at Highbury Vale Community Centre on Sunday January 17. ''From left, Kurtis Lowe 21, Matthew Hutchinson, 21, Harvey Sturton, 12, Kie Occleshaw-Jones, 13, Nathan Sturton, 16, Frank Alex, 18, Callum McKelvie, 12.

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Young boxers in Bulwell are in search of a new home for training after a dispute with their former landlord.

Members of Benny’s Amateur Boxing Club, a sporting charity for youngsters aged nine to 18, arrived to train at Highbury Vale Community Centre on the morning of Sunday, January 17, only to find the doors locked.

But bosses at the Mellish Sports Centre, which runs the centre, say the club was given a deadline to make health and safety improvements which it ignored.

Coach Kev Sheehan said: “They got there last Sunday morning. We weren’t allowed to in unless we were accompanied by a member of the Mellish centre. We were given no notice or any explanation.”

Abigail Sturton, mum of members Harvey, 12, and Nathan, 16, described the move as a ‘travesty’.

She said: “All the boys have been thrown on the street. It’s absolutely disgusting how they have been treated.

“Benny’s boxing club and the boys need support from the community!”

Tarquin Weaver, who manages the centre for the Community Based Fitness Gymnasiums charity, said he did not fully understand how the dispute arose.

He said the club had been told to clean up after sparring sessions left blood stains in the centre following a health and safety inspection.

They had also been warned to keep the roller shutters up during training sessions to comply with fire regulations.

He said: “We gave them a deadline of Friday January 15 in December and Kev chose not to take any of the options.

“We fully supported the club for over a year. We have not taken any rent off them. They paid a few bills to start with but they were struggling. So we covered most of them.

“We donated equipment and put on three or four shows for them. The last show was on October 17 and it was a success. I don’t know where it went wrong.

“We were open to negotiations. My staff were helping out with the club.”

He said the club had recently invested in a £2,500 boxing ring, which is 20ft by 20ft in size.

He said: “Although it didn’t impose a risk it cut the number of people you could have in there to about 18, but the centre is also used by footballers and kickboxers.”

Mr Sheehan said: “My question is - where do we go from here?

“Finding affordable premises is our main problem. We have a show a week on Saturday. The lads still need somewhere to train.”