Friday, February 13, 2009

Jim's Club Proves a Hit With Teens

When Jim Allen heard about a building being sold for just £250, he thought it would be the perfect place to set up a boxing club for local youngsters. The only trouble was the location. The building was in Wigan – a 208-mile round trip from the Sir Charles Napier pub Jim ran in Langley Mill. But Jim, and three of his regular customers, set off to dismantle the wooden building and reassemble it back in Derbyshire – a task which took them just five weekends. With the help of local councillor Ian Stokes, it was agreed the building could be sited on the edge of a recreation ground for a lease of just £1 per year. Seventeen years later, hundreds of youngsters have passed through the doors of the Aldercar and Langley Mill Amateur Boxing Club. Now Jim has been nominated for a Community Champions award by coach Phil Connolly. Jim, 60, became interested in boxing when his son Shaun, now 37, started training at a club in Eastwood. He said the discipline and strict fitness regime needed to become a successful boxer had gone down well with local teenagers – and the police. He said: ‘You have to be very fit to box and the lads enjoy training because it gets them in shape and gives them confidence. ‘The police in the area really back us as well because if the local kids are coming to us, they're off the streets and doing something constructive.’ During his time at the club, Jim has seen several of his students achieve national success, including 19-year-old novice cadet champion Daniel Froud. After gaining his own Amateur Boxing Association coaching qualifications when the club first opened, Jim now oversees operations in his role of head coach, with Graham Seal, David Goulding, Anthony Goulding, Colin Keetley and Phil Connolly all working alongside him. Assistant coach Phil said: ‘Jim is a great guy. He unselfishly gives up his time to coach boxing and has been the mainstay of the club for years. Jim, who now lives in Eastwood, said seeing the young people grow in confidence at the club was reward enough. He said: ‘The club was set up to give young people something constructive to do and it has been a great success.’ The Community Champions awards, launched in partnership between the Evening Telegraph, BBC Radio Derby, Derbyshire Building Society, Derby City Council and Derby County FC, give people a chance to nominate family, friends or neighbours.”

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