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Boxing club receives body blow

13 September 2013

BPM Media

KO: members of St Joseph's and St Saviour's Youth Club, which trains amateur boxers, have ap­pealed to the diocese of Birmingham not to sell their venue, a former church

KO: members of St Joseph's and St Saviour's Youth Club, which trains amateur boxers, have ap­pealed to the diocese of Birmingham not to sell their v...

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 of signatures.

"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 here."

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," he said.

"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 peppercorn rent."

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.

 

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