SCRAPPERS BOXING GYM & COMMUNITY FITNESS CENTRE is holding its second Inclusive Boxing Showcase Event on Saturday August 11, 2017 from 12pm – 2pm at Scrappers Gym to showcase the skills of people with disabilities that participate in the project. There will be refreshments provided on the day and we would like to invite people to come along and support the project and see what great work we are doing in the community.
The Scrappers Gym Agility & Fitness for All project provides regular weekly boxing skills sessions for people with disabilities; sessions run every Friday from 10am – 11am. We have an average of 30-35 people attend the sessions each week and we are holding the Inclusive Boxing Showcase Event (Round 2) to give the people that take part in the sessions the opportunity to showcase what they have learnt and to promote this fantastic project.
Many of our service-users would never have the opportunity to take part in a boxing event in a mainstream setting due to learning and physical disabilities. We are therefore putting on an event where they can experience this in a controlled sparring environment. The participants have been working extremely hard towards their second show, this is a great opportunity for them.
The first Inclusive Showcase event was held in July 2017 and was a fantastic success with over 150 people attending, everyone had a great time and it was lovely to see the positive impact it has on the lives of those who took part.
We aim to ensure that nobody is denied the opportunity to better themselves, the project provides social and personal benefits and improves health and wellbeing. The project ensures that everybody benefits from each session, no matter what their physical disabilities.
The Swindon Children’s Scrapstore secured a funding grant in January 2017 from the Big Lottery Fund to provide the FREE boxing skills and fitness sessions for people with disabilities, offering more choice and opportunities to enjoy the benefits of accessible physical activity and increasing participation amongst disabled people. We secured additional funding at the end of 2017 from Zurich Community Trust enabling us to continue running the sessions in 2018.
In January 2017, the Scrappers Gym project won a grant of £23,000 through the Aviva Community Fund Competition. An overwhelming 8,100 people voted for the gym to make the final eight after wowing judges in the Inclusivity Category of the competition. 274 groups nationally entered the competition and around 25 local charities entered but the Swindon Children’s Scrapstore’s Scrappers Gym project was the only Swindon-based organisation to win funding. For Swindon being a small town in comparison to Bristol and other areas this was a massive achievement.
The grant has enabled us to employ a part-time gym manager and install disabled toilets and showers in the gym. The money is making a big difference not only to the project but for all our service-users. It is an enormous boost because the gym is run mainly by volunteers and people who want to donate their time to help others.
Scrappers Boxing Gym & Community Fitness Centre is a project set up and managed by the registered charity ‘Swindon Children’s Scrapstore’. The gym was set up in 2011 to provide a low-cost alternative to expensive commercial fitness centres to enable access to fitness activities for all. The project has enabled more people, especially young people and those on low incomes, to improve their health and fitness.
There are over 10,000 disabled people in Swindon, including 3,000 with a severe disability, and many find it difficult to access commercial gyms due to cost and lack of available support, according to Swindon’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (www.swindonjsna.co.uk). Disabled people are a large part of the community and traditionally they have been unable to access commercial gyms and leisure facilities.
Our amazing team of boxing and fitness coaches are fully qualified and experienced in working directly with young people and adults with a wide range of disabilities, including cerebral palsy, severe mobility issues and wheelchair-users. Many of the participants have severe mobility issues and found that the exercise helped their mobility improve. This shows everyone with disabilities that there is nothing stopping them getting involved in sport.
Charlie Dawson is one of our disabled volunteer boxing coaches. Charlie, who is one of only a handful of people in the world with a muscular condition called paroxysmal non-kinetogenic choreoathetosis, also suffers from dystonia ataxia. This is controlled by a neurostimulator implant without which Charlie would endure constant fits. Despite the obstacles Charlie faces every day, he puts his energy into helping other people improve their skills.
Paul Rogers, Scrappers Gym Head Boxing Coach, said: “The gym is open to everyone but it is marginalised young people, those from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities or learning difficulties, who have benefited the most. It has tackled isolation and improved health. People seem to think it is just about punching bags, but when you start putting combinations of punches together you realise that thought has to be in there as well as the co-ordination of the body.”
Olivia McCann, Scrapstore Project Manager, said: “This community project is the only one in Swindon which provides access to boxing and fitness for people with disabilities and proves that disability poses no limits to success. We aim to provide an affordable, safe, supportive and welcoming environment at Scrappers Gym, helping to reduce isolation and increase participation.”
Scrappers Boxing Gym & Community Fitness Centre is located at the back of the 24HR Gym, Langley Road, Hillmead Industrial Estate, Swindon, SN5 5WB.