‘Winchester Boxing club opened its doors seven years ago. Starting out in a small hut offering a couple of sessions a week, the club is now home to over 300 members with boxing sessions happening seven days a week’.

Fillip, the club’s head coach, has opened the doors wide to Winchester’s community with a special emphasis on inclusivity. He’s done a great deal to promote boxing in the area and the varied demographic of their 300 members is testament to his hard work to get members of all ages and genders into this club.

The club prides itself as being a safe place to learn, practice and socialise. To ensure the safety of all who wish to use it, in June 2020 Winchester Boxing Club successfully crowdfunded over £4,000 to install a defibrillator and upgrade their equipment. With the equipment now purchased and installed, the club is ready but with the impact of the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdowns, gyms like this have had to adapt.

“As per the guidance issued by England Boxing, we had to stop all sparring, pad work and competitions. This left us in a situation like teaching swimming without being able to get into the water”. 

Despite crowdfunding during the first national lockdown Fillip was glad to find the support he needed through their online community. 

“The response, it was really good. We managed to hit our target quite well in advance of our final few days of crowdfunding. We got a lot of support from people in Winchester, namely the adults who train with us and the parents of the children who attend our sessions”. 

During a time that was fraught with worry and uncertainty, it was a challenge to capture the public’s attention which was very much distracted. “Direct communication proved to be the most effective way in which to reach people and much more efficient in gaining a response. There’s a lot of information on social media, you have to be direct”, Fillip said.

According to Fillip, after the first lockdown they were left with only 10% of their members. They are confident they will bounce back but it will be a long journey. Due to this shortfall in finances, they would have never had the money to buy this equipment upon reopening. He said, “We will therefore be much more prepared to receive everyone after having done this crowdfunding campaign, £2,000 of which we received in extra funding from Winchester City Council.

After using the spring and summer months to continue as much of their training as possible outside, they look forward to welcoming people back into their gym. As Fillip says, “people tend to think that boxing training is mainly just punching each other in the face – but they are 95% wrong! Each session gives you a full body workout including skipping, technical work, bag work and some fitness circuit work, to wear out the bit of energy you’ll have left”. 

Boxing has gained huge popularity in recent years and Winchester Boxing Club has managed to promote both its physical, mental and social benefits. “The gym is somewhere to feel welcome, to get fit and make friends” and it was therefore well placed to benefit from the Winchester Communities Positive Change Fund, a council directive aimed at supporting those tackling isolation, low income, homelessness, mental health and physical inactivity. 

Crowdfunder has teamed up with Winchester City Council to offer match funding to projects just like this

If you’ve got a similar project to benefit Winchester’s communities, start crowdfunding today.