Inspirational boxing club in Waterlooville take over derelict former cafe and Post Office building

New life has been breathed into a derelict former cafe and Post Office in Waterlooville after the site was leased to a boxing club.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, is delighted to have leased an unused police building in the town centre to Waterlooville Boxing Club which said said is having a positive impact on young people in the local community.

Waterlooville Boxing Club moves into its new homeWaterlooville Boxing Club moves into its new home
Waterlooville Boxing Club moves into its new home

The site of the former café and a Post Office in St George’s Walk is owned by he constabulary but has been the new home of the boxing club since last September - and its membership has doubled as a result.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last Friday the Commissioner paid a visit the club alongside Suella Braverman, who is hoping to become the town's next MP, and borough councillor Gwen Robinson to see for themselves how the club has been getting on since its move.

Garry Bird, PCC Donna Jones, George McKenzie, Suella Braverman MP Garry Bird, PCC Donna Jones, George McKenzie, Suella Braverman MP
Garry Bird, PCC Donna Jones, George McKenzie, Suella Braverman MP

PCC Donna Jones said: “The lease to extend the club is set at a modest rate, which has allowed Waterlooville Boxing Club to bring the property back into use, to maintain it, and to really make a difference in the lives of local young people. It has been wonderful to meet the young boxers and see for myself how the building has been re-vamped. I’m pleased to have been able to provide the owners with an opportunity to inject new life into part of the police estate.

“Boxing is a sport close to my heart. My paternal grandfather founded Waterlooville Boxing Club in the 1960s and my maternal grandmother used to work in the café on the site.  It teaches discipline and can give young people a sense of belonging and community. Having something positive to focus on is often the impetus young people need to stay out of trouble.

“There are plans for the police to be able to refer young people into the boxing club and so the club can, in turn, support these young people by providing role models and a positive outlook on life.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The club began in the late 1960s and has been running for more than 50 years. It welcomes around 125 people every week with the majority aged 15-19 years old but some members are as young as nine.

Club Secretary and coach, Garry Bird, has been involved since 2016: “We give young people somewhere to go and something to be part of, like a big extended family. The boxing club is very good for their confidence, keeps their head in a good place and helps them feel valued. The new location is such a busy area so that’s great for our numbers which have grown organically. We’re making a real difference here.”

The PCC recently announced funding for a range of intervention projects across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to prevent crime totalling nearly half a million pounds. Havant Borough Council was one of the successful recipients with £5K going to Waterlooville Boxing Club for a new boxing ring.

News of the new use of the long-empty building comes as efforts are made to regenerate Waterlooville town centre which is blighted by the large volume of empty units in the town centre. Havant Borough Council has embarked on a project to pull together a 'masterplan' to help bring about a change in the town centre's fortunes.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.