Barking boxing club appeals for help to keep its doors open
PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 August 2019
A boxing club is appealing for help keeping its doors open as spiralling costs put it at risk of closing six months after finding a new home.
TKO Barking Amateur Boxing Club moved into the Abbey Leisure Centre in Bobby Moore Way, Barking, in February after losing its home last October.
But the club has struggled to build its membership numbers back up to the 150 who used to train with its volunteer coaches besides having to replace gloves, headguards and bags.
Johnny Eames, the club's deputy chairman, said: "At the moment we're OK, but I don't know what will happen if we don't get help.
"We're at risk of closing unless we get more support."
The TKO team has carried out its own fundraising with an online appeal bringing in £3,500 which Barking and Dagenham Council topped up to £5,000.
It is also waiting for a £7,500 grant.
But Johnny, who also coaches TKO's professionals, said that it costs the club £800 per week to rent space at Abbey Leisure Centre.
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It takes in about £350 each week by charging its 50 members £3 to £5 for training sessions.
As a result the club is behind with its rent and still has to fully pay for the new gear it bought to replace donated equipment which went missing while the club was homeless.
TKO's coaches do the job in their spare time, but bosses pay their expenses as well as covering the cost of taking competitors to shows.
Johnny said: "We would be glad to speak to anyone who can help towards our rent. The rest we can take care of.
"It's so important to keep the club open."
He explained that knife crime and youth violence meant keeping TKO's doors open to keep youngsters off the streets was really important, especially in Barking.
The club, which is seeking charitable status, puts on classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for children as young as six all the way up to adults.
"We're doing the community a service. Everyone knows boxing encourages discipline, respect and comradeship," Johnny said.
Young boxer, Ibrahim Akhtar, 13, added: "Boxing keeps us off the streets, which is good for the community."
Ring Johnny on 07912 869484.