A Wearside boxing club is flourishing with new members both younger and older after it made a revamped community centre its home.
It is now one year since a new management board took over the running of the Lakeside Community Association (CA) in Sunderland.
The board consists of residents, centre user groups and a local councillor.
A number of groups now use the site such as a bowls group, veterans breakfast group, Slimming World, Jittabugs, juniors dance class, art club, ladies club and bingo.
A junior martial arts group is to start in the late autumn.
But it is Lakeside Community Boxing Club which has attracted the greatest interest, with the CA’s gym having been used by over 1,800 people since January.
Chairman of Lakeside CA Alan Wright said: “One of our first tasks was to address the priorities of the Association and aim for a better user age profile split.
“The use of the Lakeside Community Centre by young people had been discouraged in the past and was now seen as a priority.
“The boxing club covers all age groups and has recently gained Amateur Boxing Association accreditation.
“This allows the club to put on events which will lift its profile.
“Two female coaches will soon be joining to encourage more female participation.”
“The group aims to provide meaningful and engaging fitness activities in an informal, supportive and fun learning environment for young people as an alternative to hanging around the streets.”
Hetton boxer Jordan King has trained at Lakeside and even appeared on Sky Sports in April where he was filmed wearing a Lakeside Boxing Club vest.
Bosses say they sessions they have put on have helped to increase self-confidence, quality of life, health and well-being and personal development by tackling obesity, bullying, health and wellbeing, inequality and isolation for children and their parents/carers.
Mr Wright added: “The group is run entirely by volunteers, all of whom are parents and/or corers from the local community and one affiliated boxing coach.
“All of the management committee and volunteers are DBS checked, have completed an England Boxing Safeguarding and child protection workshop and have Level 2 in First Aid.
“This area of Sunderland is classed as one of the most deprived areas, with a high percentage of people suffering form high levels of poverty, unemployment and low income levels.
“The club is committed to providing low cost amateur boxing training and fitness to the community.”
Three boxing sessions are provided per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for ages nine to 50 years between 5pm and 7.30pm.
While funding has been obtained from the Community Association itself, Sunderland City Council, and local resident’s association, the main funding source is through subscriptions.
The boxing club also carry out fund-raising events throughout the year including sponsored swims, amateur boxing events, tombola, bag packing and raffles.
CA secretary and centre manager David Burton, has worked with and supported the club since its beginnings and said: “I am proud to see it flourishing in the Lakeside Community Centre.”