Free boxing sessions for Edmonton youth after club handed £160k in lottery cash

Edmonton Eagles Amateur Boxing Club will run more free boxing and mentoring sessions for young people thanks to grant award

Edmonton Eagles Boxing Club
Edmonton Eagles Boxing Club

An Enfield-based boxing club has received £160,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund to run more free boxing and mentoring sessions for young people – including victims of domestic violence.

The sessions, run by Edmonton Eagles Amateur Boxing Club, aim to help young people in a deprived area build confidence and improve physical and mental health, while gaining a more positive perspective on life.

The club was founded in 2004 by president Penny Efstathiou and head coach Costas Evangelou MBE with the support of local police, in response to a number of fatal stabbings. It was setup with the objective to help people channel their energy in a positive way, leaving behind negative and destructive lifestyles.

Costas said the latest cash award for the club would be a huge boost for the local area. He said: “On behalf of all of us at Edmonton Eagles Amateur Boxing Club, we want to pass on our thanks to National Lottery players, who are providing funding for five years to run free boxing and mentoring sessions every week.

“The club is based in an area in the top 10% of social and economic deprivation in the UK and we are living in challenging times for young people and their families. This amazing support from The National Lottery Community Fund means that young people from all backgrounds, faiths and cultures have access to sports sessions which will help with their fitness, confidence and well-being in a supportive and caring environment.

“This will make such a difference to them and their families.”

Edmonton Eagles is open six days a week and the coaching team also runs sessions for schools, behavioural units and youth clubs to improve fitness, confidence and wellbeing. Its work is acknowledged as a flagship project in Enfield, receiving the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2015. Costas was also made an MBE in 2019 for services in providing a safe space for young people in North London and, last year, was named an ‘Enfield Community Hero’ by the Dispatch.

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Ryan, a 16-year-old boxer with the Eagles, said: “The free boxing sessions have helped me a lot in terms of my mental and physical health. Before I started boxing, I spent a lot of time on the streets and was very lazy and unproductive. Since beginning the sessions, my mental and physical health has improved significantly, and it is one of my favourite places to be.” 

Antonio, a 15-year-old who has also benefited from what the club does locally, added: “Before I started boxing, I was lashing out, messing around in school and getting into fights because of problems with my parents which was affecting my mental health. I remember talking to my friend about it and he suggested I started boxing. He showed me Edmonton Eagles and within the first week I could feel how much it helped me mentally and physically. It gave me a safe space to go when I was upset at home and coming from a disadvantaged background, the free sessions helped me a lot.”

Edmonton Eagles is one of 750 charities and community groups in London doing vital work with communities to have been awarded almost £72.5million of National Lottery funding in the last four months.

Helen Bushell, head of regional funding for London at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff and volunteers at the Edmonton Eagles Amateur Boxing Club, and National Lottery players, this funding will make a great difference to the wellbeing of young people in a socially and economically deprived area of North London.

“We take an equity-based approach to our work, investing most in places, people and communities experiencing poverty, disadvantage and discrimination.  I’m delighted that our funding is being used to deliver this vital support which will enable people to live healthier lives.”

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