On 4th August Les Penfold, Chris Howells and Steve Sargeant continued to meet Bicester Labour Party’s commitment to young peoples’ organisations by visiting Bicester Boxing Club in Wedgwood Road. They were given a warm welcome by Daza Usher and his brother Logan, who run the club, and were shown the various areas and equipment. The energy and commitment from those using the facility was very evident and all received full training and support. The club comprises male and female membership with age ranging from 10 right up to an incredible 74 . Daza was keen to state that they take the discipline of the sport very seriously and anyone whose behaviour, either inside or outside the club, breached that standard and brought the club into disrepute risked suspension or expulsion.
The club was established 2 years ago in Chesterton but the location did not attract sufficient numbers and since moving to Wedgewood Road 2 months ago, membership had increased considerably. There were at least 20 people of all ages and both genders training whilst we were there and Daza said numbers increased after 6pm. The club has made excellent progress since moving, had set up their equipment and IT links and were due to complete fitting the carpet shortly. A measure of Daza and Logan’s dedication is that with the assistance of family and friends they have done all this without any financial support from the national sport governing body and with only a small grant from Cherwell District Council. This is quite an achievement since a weights mat for example costs around £60 and a set of protective equipment which they loan to members can cost between £100 and £150. Despite their financial limitations they have kept the membership fee down to £5 per session and £30 per month for juniors and £40 per month for adults.
Logan said they wanted to develop the club by advertising the personal fitness and development that it offered young people and the opportunity for healthy competition in the sport. They also wanted to link with other youth sports clubs in Bicester to share resources and training and could provide after-school boxing training for local secondary schools.
Logan introduced 3 young members and gave them the opportunity to ask questions and to say what they wanted for the club and the town. They talked about how much they enjoyed being part of the club and how it had inspired them. When it came to what they wanted for the town healthy activity figured highly in terms of more combined football and basketball courts. One young man also came up with the idea of an outdoor gym and talked about how it could be located centrally in the town around the perimeter of say Garth Park, Launton Road Field or Pingle Field. Les said he had seen an example of this in West Wales, where the wooden exercise equipment was located at various points around a playing field and was well used by young people.
Les, Chris and Steve ended by stating that Labour could support the club as follows: –
- They would be pleased to offer the management and IT skills within Bicester Labour Party.
- When visiting other youth organisations in the town they could establish links to Bicester Boxing Club to share resources, training etc.
- Through contacts in PE Depts. in local secondary schools they could explore the possibility of after-school boxing clubs.
- They would ask Labour Councillors on Cherwell District Council to promote the club and to explore the possibility of additional funding.
- They would advertise the rewarding experience of visiting the club with an article on the Bicester Labour Party web site.
- Last but not least they would campaign at local and district council levels for the creation of the facilities identified by the young members of the club.
The visit ended well and Daza and Logan were pleased that their club was being given the recognition and support they deserved. For Les, Chris and Steve it was also a very positive experience, not only in terms of the exciting potential of Bicester Boxing Club but just as important the inspirational affect it clearly has on its young members. Bicester Labour Party will therefore continue to support both and will campaign to ensure their needs are met.