Post by Everton News. on Apr 26, 2016 16:24:55 GMT
Young children attending an Everton in the Community Premier League 4 Sport boxing session at Salisbury Boxing Club were given a shock recently when Blues goalkeeper Tim Howard and world title contender Tony Bellew turned up at their training session to take on the role of sparring partners.
USA international Howard and lifelong Evertonian Bellew each pulled on a pair of pads to help the young adults in their warm-up. Creed star Bellew then offered the local youngsters some personalised tips on perfecting their boxing techniques before him and shot-stopper Howard jumped in the ring and gave those in attendance the opportunity to throw their best punches at the duo.
The Club’s official charity has been delivering the Premier League funded programme since 2009 and offers young people aged 14 and above, of all abilities, a chance to get involved in sport in their local community. The project provides opportunities for people to develop their skills and EitC delivers eight sports on a weekly basis in 20 satellite clubs across the city, bridging school and community sport, to provide competitive opportunities and a pathway for progression.
The Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) boxing programme is delivered twice a week from the Anfield based boxing club by Everton in the Community and, after putting down their pads, Howard and Bellew spoke with the youngsters to find out more about how the programme has benefitted them and given them the opportunity to try out non-traditional sports.
Speaking after attending his last Everton in the Community session, Howard said, “Everton in the Community has been dear to myself and all the players since I’ve been at Everton; we feel a responsibility to give back and we’re always more than happy to help. We’re always coming along to neighbourhood initiatives, we come to boxing clubs, to football clubs, and we’re always trying to reach out and give back. I think that’s a responsibility on ourselves as players but also as a club.
“It’s been fantastic to come along here today with a fighter like Tony, he’s won titles and the kids in here look up to him and aspire to be like him. Programmes like this get these kids off the street and into the gym, gets them disciplined which all kids need today so it’s a good deed all around. There’s a huge positive in boxing, there’s goal setting and that determination and discipline that you need to become a champion and hopefully one of these kids has it.”
Former European, Commonwealth and British champion Bellew added: “It was lovely to see the kids and for them to meet someone like Tim. Everton in the Community does fantastic work. I work an awful lot with them and I always enjoy it. It was a little more relevant this time because it was boxing! “It is absolutely brilliant to see this programme in action. There are too many youth clubs being shut down. When I was young, you had six in a three-mile radius around my house – now there is one.
“Tim knows his way around a ring. He is an amazing athlete so he can adapt to any sport. He has always loved his boxing. He has been a very good friend of mine, so it was great being able to come down and spend time at the gym with him.”
The PL4S programme has helped to provide legacy beyond the 2012 London Olympic Games and has increased the diversity of sports available for sport children to participate in. In addition to boxing, the other seven sports on offer include judo, badminton, basketball and golf and PL4S has strong links with the governing bodies of these sports which has led to opportunities for local coaches to develop their skills and for young sports leaders in schools who are involved in the programme to receive sport specific leadership training.
Everton was the first Club in the Premier League to exceed its aim of engaging with 2,500 youngsters through the programme and the Club’s official charity has delivering the PL4S project with Salisbury ABC for three years with over 20 children attending each of the twice-weekly sessions. 60 unique participants have engaged with the boxing programme since September 2015.