How the Northern Powerhouse became first women-led boxing club in the UK

Back in September 2018, I was hearing good things about a new boxing club that had recently opened near Hebden Bridge, writes Josie McNamara.
The Northern Powerhouse Boxing Academy. Picture: Photography By CharliThe Northern Powerhouse Boxing Academy. Picture: Photography By Charli
The Northern Powerhouse Boxing Academy. Picture: Photography By Charli

With a young family at home, I was ready to reclaim a bit of time for myself so I thought I better see what all the fuss was about. Walking into the ‘Workout Wednesday’ circuits class in the beautifully restored ‘Perseverance Mill’, in Eastwood, that September evening, I had no idea that four years later I would be an accredited England Boxing coach and that managing Northern Powerhouse Boxing Academy would have become my day job.

Northern Powerhouse is the first women-led boxing club in the UK.

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What does that mean? It means that our priority is to provide women and girls with opportunities to become involved in boxing either as an amateur sport or for the good of someone’s own physical and mental wellbeing.

We do this by providing a safe and supportive environment, free from gender stereotyping and expectations, where people can train and be guided to achieve their potential.

Rather than operating as a regular business or sports club, we are set up as a Community Interest Company - a company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders. Our coaching team is predominantly female, our Board of Directors is made up of women at present and 70 per-cent of our members are women or girls. But with all this said, men and boys are always welcome to attend!

Out in the Upper Calder Valley, we don’t have the big shiny 24 hour gyms and fitness provision that can be found in the larger towns - in fact access to organised indoor sports is surprisingly limited considering how many people live in this wet and dark corner of Yorkshire.

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From Day One, NPBA has aimed to serve our local community by offering tailored training whether it is to a 65-year-old retiree or a six-year-old kid who is struggling with self-confidence and everyone in between.

Aside from our regular classes we regularly work with local schools, community groups, social services and individuals - our aim is to bring the benefits of boxing and exercise to the wider community.

And it was this sense of community that I experienced when I first walked through the doors that has kept me involved with the club since 2018 and that so many of our regulars, members and volunteers speak about when they talk about our club.

We will be bringing you a monthly update from our boxing club, highlighting some of the projects we are involved with as well as news from our club as well as the larger West Yorkshire boxing community. Anyone is welcome to come and give a class a go - whether you are looking for a general fitness class or to learn how to box.

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Contact us to book a free taster session. Our timetable and class info is on our website at

Call 07989 538044 or email [email protected]. Also, NorthernPowerhouseBoxing on Facebook and Instagram.