Oldham Boxing Club is helping to get kids off the street and into the boxing ring to get active, have fun, and steer them on the right path in life.
The gym, partnered with Tackling Drugs and Changing Lives in Oldham, runs a variety of sessions and projects throughout the community, helping kids from all walks of life to make the best decisions and reap the benefits of the sport.
Centred in the heart of Oldham, on Greaves Street, the club has had its doors open to the community for over 10 years and has attracted huge interest from far and wide.
Former super-middle weight champion and head coach Eric Noi has had a long history in the sport.
He said: “I was born in Moss Side, moved down to North Manchester when I was young. I was quite aggressive and active when I was a young boy, and the secret really is that I’ve got five older sisters who gave me hell all the time.
“As you get older you realise the impact it’s had on your life, the people you’ve met, places you’ve been, the life skills it’s given you.”
Oldham Boxing Club is currently working with local schools to bring fitness and personal development right to the heart of the community.
The club works with all ages and abilities, offering sport and learning development programmes in a safe and supportive environment.
Eric, talking about his journey into coaching, said: "It was a natural progression really - the stuff you’ve taught yourself you pass it on to other people, to provide them with a potential kind of lifeline, particularly with some of these younger people.
"I had good coaches in my career that not only coached me but mentored me in life so I felt like I could do that myself to others."
Contact sports like boxing have an enormous range of different ways it can help your health, physically and mentally.
The NHS recommends that adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week to stay fit and healthy.
Eric said: "Our bodies were designed to be challenged physically and mentally – that’s not happening now in today's society."
Oldham boxer Will Cawley, 21, has a big year ahead of him at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year.
He says that boxing helped him to build confidence and develop important values and life skills.
"My journey started here at 11 year sold - I soon got my first fight which I won, and then I just kept on that pathway. Now I’m on team GB ready for the Tokyo Olympics.
"It gave me a lot of confidence about myself and as a GB athlete I feel like I should be there to help out people with mental health and speak to them about the situation they’re in."
The club welcomes all ages and abilities and runs a number of activities to suit both adults and children.
Will added: “Be confident in yourself, believe in you own ability, and get in there and give it a try. If it’s for you it’s for you, if it’s not there are many other sports out there which can help you out as well.”
To get involved or to find out more about what’s on offer, visit http://www.oldhamboxing.co.uk/.