Former British and Commonwealth champion boxer Jamie Moore is set to launch his own gym in his home town of Walkden.
The gym is set to be constructed in an empty unit in the Walkden Shopping Centre. The project is part of a collaboration with the charity Maverick Stars Trust, who work to develop both amateur and professional boxing clubs within their community.
“I was approached by Charlotte from Maverick Stars Trust and she asked me if I’d ever thought about opening a gym up,” Jamie explains. “She offered her help and said she’d love to be on board and here we are.”
The boxer now wants to give back to the community that he grew up in, particularly since the increase in reports of crime and anti social behaviour in the area. A BBC analysis into recent police figures show that knife crime is rising rapidly in areas outside of the capital with Manchester being one of the most at risk places.
There are plans to provide other activities within the community centre to engage as many individuals as possible, however the main aim is to provide a safe place for youngsters who feel like they have nowhere to go. Jamie explains, “it is going to be a massive opportunity for this area, I’m just glad and proud that I’ve been able to open doors for the kids and give them that tool to try and express themselves and grow.”
The gym is expected to be ready for opening in January in 2020. However if everything goes to plan there are hopes to have it up and running in time for Christmas, giving the young people of Walkden a place to over their school holidays.
Meetings and proposals have been in the works for three years, with Jamie saying it has been a “long time coming.”
Moore grew up on a council estate in the town and puts his own success down to joining an amateur boxing club when he was 13 years old, saying “If that bit of fate didn’t happen and I wasn’t given that opportunity to change my life I don’t know where my life would have taken me.
“I started boxing at 13, I had my first contest at 14 and was 20 years old when I turned professional. I was what you’d call a typical council estate kid, a bit rough and ready. I believe that the earlier in life you can get kids to stay disciplined the better it will be in the long run.”
Giving the local children the same opportunities that he had is at the heart of this project, “I always said once I was in the position to give back to the area, seeing the problems they have with the kids and knowing the impact a boxing gym can have on the community it was a no brainer.”
The gym is set for a late January opening.