Help give our area a good sports centre

The Halifax Police Boxing club is to rise like a phoenix from the ashes and will remain open despite the council turning its back on the club’s hard work towards redeveloping the Riding’s leisure centre, and its plans to turn the site into a sporting and vocational centre for North Halifax.

Local businessmen and community-minded people have come forward to support the club through this difficult economic crisis, to help the club go forward and continue to deliver their first-class sporting activities.

Mick Rowe, sports director for the club, has been overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm of local people who wish the boxing club to continue delivering the successes with the young people of North Halifax that it has been achieving over the course of the last ten years.

Mick still believes that the leisure centre and the sporting grounds based at the Ridings is still the only suitable place for the North Halifax Sports Village.

The location has all of the basics for the club to create a sports hub for the whole area, and for the council to try to develop this at any other site would incur a great cost to the taxpaying public.

Gary Byrnes’ (Sports services manager at Calderdale MBC) argumentative remarks about how much public money the leisure centre at the Ridings loses each year seem unreasonable, given that the boxing club’s presence would have brought a considerable amount of interest and funding into the site.

As for his remarks about our competence in running the leisure centre and our health and safety expertise, we would like to remind Mr Byrnes and others involved in the decision making process that we are a Clubmark accredited sports facility, one of only two boxing clubs in Yorkshire to have received this prestigious national accolade.

The Halifax Police Boxing Club is one of the biggest sports and fitness clubs in North Halifax, with few other clubs matching its success.

Ovenden Rugby Club, despite incorporating large playing fields and its own club house, is seldom used as a community asset.

North Halifax Football Club is another large site which is under-developed and has constant arguing between football and rugby management.

The clubhouse itself, now dilapidated, was once an outstanding sports facility, with tennis courts, bowling green and a clubhouse that was open more often than shut.

The Ridings Sports Village could become, under the guidance of the HxABC, a sports hub which could support both of these demoralised sites.

There are still some who do not understand what boxing can bring to local communities and society when it is delivered in a professional, contemporary manner.

North Halifax has a dense population and is a designated area of depravation with few activities for young people.

There is a high incidence of crime and anti-social behaviour on the estates within the district with surrounding communities affected also.

Incomes and prospects for inhabitants tend to be low whilst social benefit uptake is high.

Health issues are prevalent with lack of dietary/exercise knowledge, rife substance abuse, long term medical conditions and mental health issues all rendering unemployment as a high possibility for local residents.

Academic achievement is medium to low. Our council leaders and leisure service managers, in their wisdom, do not seem to understand the ethos behind the Halifax Police Amateur Boxing Club running the site, and the discipline and structure that it will bring to this venture.

If we can take a run-down mill building and turn it into a state-of-the art sporting venue, imagine what we could achieve with the Ridings site.

If you would like to support us in any way, contact your local councillors and make your voice heard.

Lyn Rowe

l Boxing club saved from closure – see Page 6