Inspirational photos and stories line the walls of the Flaxmere Boxing Academy, built up over the eight years the initiative has encouraged young people to be “warriors in the ring, champions in the home”.
This month the academy, operated by Te Aranga Trust, received $10,000 of contestable grants funding from Hastings District Council to assist it with its everyday running costs to deliver boxing coaching as well as life skills.
Flaxmere resident Shelley Pritchard, who grew up in the community and is heavily involved in many local activities and initiatives, applied for the funding for the academy having seen first-hand the good it has done for many people who have made use of the facility.
“This is such a great, positive place for so many people – it’s open to all, there’s no discrimination or judgement, and people have had their lives transformed because of it.”
Academy founder, Hastings Ambassador, and Hastings district councillor Henare O’Keefe says there’s about 43 kids currently attending the academy two to three times a week in novice and elite categories.
There are also classes run for adults – all the coaching and mentoring provided by volunteers.
“We would never manage without their goodwill and support,” Mr O’Keefe says.
“What happens here complements what’s happening at home and at school – some of these kids come from tough homes and this is about getting them involved in the good stuff that should be happening.
“It’s highly likely the Flaxmere Boxing Academy is the highlight of their day, a place where they feel loved and valued.
“And everyone who helps out here does so out of the goodness of their hearts - you can’t buy that sort of commitment.”
Mentoring and fostering self-confidence drives much of what is happening at the academy, achieved while learning the art of boxing, alongside the likes of good manners, compassion and humility.
Every week a “Champion of the Week” is chosen, and alongside the cuttings of newspaper stories and photos, the walls feature an array of trophies that reward good results and behaviour.
The Flaxmere Boxing Academy is one of 37 applicants to receive funding in the 2019/2020 grants round, with a total of $245,500 allocated.
14 June 2019
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