An appeal has been launched to help set up a new, purpose-built headquarters for a thriving boxing club in the Ollerton area.
The Elite Fight Academy, run by head coach Paul Hillman, is going from strength to strength as an organisation that has raised the profile of the local community. But it has outgrown its current base at the Dukeries Leisure Centre in Boughton, and needs to move on and expand at its own permanent venue.
An ideal 1,000 square-foot unit has been identified by Hillman at the Boughton Industrial Estate. Now he hopes to attract the support of local businesses to turn the project into reality.
“The unit needs converting, and we are starting from scratch,” said the 38-year-old Hillman, who has bags of experience in boxing and martial arts. “It will be hard to get the project off the ground. But I am quite driven and determined to make it work. It would be horrible if the club was forced to stop.”
Hillman is hoping that businesses will come forward not only with financial help, but also with donations of equipment and materials. “Even tins of paint would help,” he said. “We need all the backing we can get.
“Our vision is to turn what is currently a boxing class at a leisure centre into a proper community club with its own headquarters. It would have such a positive influence on the Ollerton community.”
Hillman, who is being helped with the appeal by one of the club’s members, 26-year-old Matt Lonsdale, set up the Elite Fight Academy after recognising there was a shortage of leisure activities on offer in the Ollerton area.
The club, which holds classes at the Dukeries every Tuesday and Thursday evening, embraces boxing, kickboxing, the combat sport of muay thai, and general health and fitness. It has about 50 registered members, both men and women, of all ages and abilities. They range from a 12-year-old to an inspirational 63-year-old.
“It has really taken off and been well received,” said Hillman, who is a competitor as well as a teacher. “We are dedicated to providing a safe place to train, lead and develop athletes to be champions inside and outside the ring.
“The atmosphere is fantastic. The club has a friendly, family feel, and we want to make boxing enjoyable for everyone.”
Anyone who wishes to support the appeal should ring Hillman on 07470 030833.