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Boxing club’s covid fight packs a punch

AS Kirkdale faces the full force of Covid-19, a number of organisations have joined forces to ensure that those local people most in need don’t get left behind during the pandemic.

Kirkdale Amateur Boxing Club - with the support of local media company LA Productions, boxing charity Maverick Star, food preparation company Prep For Success and Liverpool trainer store Transalpino - are now supplying basic necessities through a foodbank run from the boxing club.

Scottie Press spoke to coach JJ, from Kirkdale ABC, who tells us: “We’re running a hub from the gym. We prepare the meals in the morning. And, as we’ve got some people who can’t come and get the meals themselves, volunteers from the club who know the residents to take the meals out to them.”

Previous community projects run from the gym have provided a framework to launch the service in a time of crisis, “We do the Boxing Off Christmas every year giving food hampers out,” says JJ. “And we’ve built a network through that. Also, we’ve previously teamed up with Maverick Star for a half term kids breakfast club, where children would come for an hour of exercise, then have their breakfast and go on their way.”

JJ adds: “Maverick Star teamed back up with us to provide meals for four weeks for the community. And the Boxing Off Christmas team have come back in to join in and are donating essential items on top of the food. Individual people in the community have also been donating and helping get food in for others.

“People do seem to be managing, but they also seem very worried. They don’t know what is happening next. Everyone is on stand-by.”

“There are spectacular people that emerge in spectacular circumstances - and I think the lads in the boxing club are unsung heroes."

Brendan Wyatt, from trainer store Transalpino, supports the Boxing Off Christmas project each year. He has now set up a Just Giving page, and is promoting the latest initiative through the shop’s large social media following.

Brendan explains: “It’s originally my boxing club, I trained there when I was younger.

“A couple of years ago we teamed up with Kirkdale ABC and other local boxing clubs for a no knives campaign. When people were buying off our site we were making a donation to the clubs, That’s where the connection comes from.”

Brendan also explains that Transalpino was part of the Liverpool FC trademark dispute over the word “Liverpool” last year, which built up a fund for legal fees to fight the case against the club. “So when this crisis came along we redistributed that money to food banks, so Kirkdale ABC got some of that as well,” he says.

When they first launched the response to Covid-19, Brendan says: “The target was 25 meals a day going out, and I think it reached 65 after just four days!”

“It shows people coming together, in a way a community like this does. Even though we sometimes get a bad name in the press, the actual people in this community are always ready to help.”

Food parcels ready for delivery

Colin McKeown, the head of media company LA Productions, owns the building on Westminster Road were Kirkdale ABC is based. He told Scottie Press, “There are spectacular people that emerge in spectacular circumstances – and I think the lads in the boxing club are unsung heroes.

“I always make a donation around Christmas time for the hampers. What is so lovely is that they make sure the really impoverished local people are supported. They know who is skint in Kirkdale – they know who is on the breadline.

“I spoke to them recently and I said let’s extend this, let’s do some more”

“We’ve also donated some scrubs to the Fazakerley Hospital. On two fronts I think Kirkdale has helped fight the good fight – which I’m really proud of.

“Kirkdale sometimes gets a bad rap. But the people we’ve come across are just really family-orientated- salt of the earth, decent people.”

“What’s lovely about it is they are people you don’t have to prompt. They just intuitively recognise anything dangerous or difficult and rise to the occasion. I think the lads from the boxing club and people from Kirkdale in general are very receptive when it come to helping others.

“I’ve been running that school for 20 years now, to be able to preside over the boxing club and watch it develop. And what it’s done for the community is really wonderful.”

Retweet from Transalpino from Homeground Hostel twitter account showing their gratitude for the Kirkdale ABC's service