There’s always something interesting going on at the Hamara Centre in Beeston, but the highly popular Box-Teq class is slightly different.
The sessions are run by Darren Rhodes from the Hunslet Club. He explains that although Hamara doesn’t have a boxing gym, the boys sit in a circle to form a ring whilst he teaches boxing skills such as shadow boxing and pad work. The young people enjoy it so much that they often stay on to watch the adult class which follows.
“This work is breaking barriers,” says Darren “Some people may feel uncomfortable, or just not know about the Club. So taking the sport out to them is a great way of overcoming that and showing that everyone is welcome at The Hunslet Club.”
Last week he brought the Hamara class over to experience a session in the club’s purpose built boxing gym. The young people clearly enjoyed themselves.
Box-Teq is just of many activities being delivered across South Leeds. The Hunslet Club has been given £250,000 by Sport England to increase participation levels in the area. The three year programme aims to engage 2,000 people in sport and has already attracted over 400 people since it started in July 2014.
The 14-18 age group is key. Younger children generally play sport in school, adults that are active tend to stay active throughout their lives. But many people stop playing sport in their teenage years and then never start again. The programme aims to bridge this gap by offering different sports in a range of community venues.
There’s a free Junior Gym session every Friday from 5-7pm for 13-18 year olds. They are also hoping to start a weights class at The South Leeds Academy.
Stephanie Hunter, who co-ordinates the programme, explains that they also offer activities for pre-school age children. Tots football and rugby is run at Health For All’s Tenant Hall building in Middleton and Tots Cricket is due to start soon at Building Blocks in Beeston.
“We are really pleased with how this has started” she says, “but we are already looking three years on to make sure we maintain these partnerships and can continue to offer great sporting opportunities for everyone in South Leeds.”