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Coach tells of fears for youngsters if Angel boxing club loses its home

“Where will kids go if we have to close? They’ll end up on the streets"

19 April, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Boxing coach Stan Hanson

A BOXING coach has asked where kids will go if a youth boxing club in Angel is made to leave its home of 50 years.

As previously reported in the Tribune, the owners of Angel Amateur Boxing Club, in Owens Row, were told that they no longer owe their landlords City and Islington College a £250,000 repair bill. But they were instead told they would have to leave their home at the end of 2022.

Stan Hanson, 42, from Holloway, coaches youngsters in the ring twice a week.

“We are trying to keep our doors open but it’s difficult. We keep kids off the street and they can have a good life through boxing. We’re a youth club as well, and we keep kids busy during the school holidays,” he said.

“Where will kids go if we have to close? They’ll end up on the streets. There’s no community centres left for youngsters where they have a safe environment to go to. I dread to think what they’ll get up to.”

Twins Josh (left) and Charlie Duffy, who regularly enjoy training at the club in Owens Row
The club charges just £3 for a youth training session which sees around 40 youngsters learn how to jab, duck and defend themselves.

“We’re affordable for parents, even on the minimum wage. We are vital,” said Mr Hanson.

He recently experienced the transformative power of boxing himself after suffering from a life-threatening stomach ulcer 18 months ago which saw him change career from a painter and decorator to a coach.

“I used to smoke, drink and go out with friends all the time. But I don’t do any of that anymore. I have a son and I’m trying to make him understand that there is so much more in life than caring about new shoes and drinking. You can come here and do something constructive.”

Loretta Bond, from Angel, whose daughter Robyn, aged eight, was crowned boxer of the year this month at a presentation ceremony, said children were offered a second home at the club.

“A lot of kids here have special needs including ADHD but the Angel boxing club accepts them. I don’t know if any other centres would accept them. It’s life-changing here,” she said.

Charlie, 11, who has been going to the club for two months, said: “I’ve made so many friends here. I used to come last on sports day but my fitness has gone up and now I come fifth or sixth. It’s a boost.”

A spokesman for Capital City College Group, the owners of City and Islington College, said: “The college has already told club officials we would be happy to help them find a new home and we are willing to discuss these issues with the club at any time.”

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