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Greater investment needed for Norths Boxing clubs - Maskey

30 June, 2011 - by Alex Maskey

Speaking after a meeting this week between Sport NI, Belfast Buildings Preservation Trust and St George's ABC in the Market, South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey called for greater investment in boxing clubs across the North — and in particular in St George's boxing club and Sandy Row boxing club in South Belfast."I am an enthusiastic supporter of the plans by the Belfast Buildings Preservation Trust and St George's boxing club to find a way in which their present listed premises in the badly dilapidated former Convent of Mercy school at Sussex Place can be renovated to provide city centre offices and a permanent home for the young boxers of St George's ABC."In February, I was delighted to join the Rev Jesse Jackson at the club to hear of the preservation plans and to witness the commitment and passion of boxers and coaches alike. "Now we need to ensure both the Belfast Buildings Preservation Trust, which has boldly stepped into save this building, and St George's, get the funding and support to deliver their ambitious plans. I would also be keen to find a way in which the Sandy Row ABC, again operating from Dickensian premises in my constituency of South Belfast, could similarly be helped."However, there's an opportunity also to make a substantial investment in boxing clubs which are very often the backbone of our working class districts. I have written to Minister Carál Ní Chuilín to look at ways in which funds could be allocated for the urgent task of upgrading our boxing clubs, not only for their sporting worth but in light of the contribution they make to community wellbeing and community spirit. A comprehensive programme of support for boxing clubs would be an excellent way to invest in our communities."As the recent European championships show, our boxers are great sporting ambassadors. Indeed, they have won more medals on the world stage than all our other sport disciplines combined. It's time now that we matched their courage with a programme of investment which will ensure every young boxer is enjoying 21st Century facilities."

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