MEMBERS of a boxing club in Birmingham have appealed to the
diocese not to sell the former church in which it is housed.
The St Joseph's and St Saviour's Youth Club trains young people
- many of whom had been on the wrong side of the law - as amateur
boxers. The club's boss, Dave Lovell, was told in May that the
diocese of Birmingham planned to sell the building.
Mr Lovell told the Birmingham Mail earlier this month
that this would mean that the club would have to close. He has
organised a petition against the sale, which has garnered hundreds
"The church wants the building back so it can put it up for
auction," Mr Lovell said. "I understand it has to pull in its purse
strings like everyone else, but there are thriving community groups
The diocesan secretary, Andrew Halstead, told the Birmingham
Mail that the boxing club had a "casual rental agreement", and
paid about £120 a month in rent to the diocese.
"The building is surplus to requirements, and we are selling it
so we can raise funds for our missionary work in Saltley and
Washwood Heath for such projects as food banks and night shelters,"
"A lot of good work has been done there by Mr Lovell, but the
church isn't about buildings: it's about people. The boxing club
does a lot of good work, but at the end of the day it is a
commercial organisation charging fees, and it enjoys virtually a
On Thursday of last week, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd
David Urquhart, presented the 500th grant from the the interfaith
charity scheme Near Neighbours to Mohammed Shaffique, who runs
Bromford Boxing, a club that brings young people of different
religious backgrounds together.