Community initiative supports young Hackney boxers and historic Clapton youth club
PUBLISHED: 12:07 23 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:02 23 June 2020
A community-based initiative set up to inspire and educate young people through boxing has secured funding to support a historic Clapton gym and community centre.
Pedro Club has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus lockdown but the initiative Knock Out Knife Crime (KOKC) is providing money to support 10 young boxers and kit them out with training gear which includes gloves, headguards, vests and shorts.
James Cook MBE runs Pedro youth club. The former European and British super middleweight boxing champion was awarded an MBE in 2007 for “his outstanding work with the young people of Hackney”.
He told the Gazette: “The coronavirus crisis has been very difficult for us and it’s the first time we’ve had to shut our doors since we rescued the club from closure in 2003.
“This investment from KOKC and Holborn Studios is really welcome and comes at an uncertain time when other sources of funding are being cut. We’re keen to get back open supporting the youngsters who need us.”
The club has been helping kids since it was set up in 1929 and Dame Elizabeth Taylor along with her then husband Richard Burton were once patrons. They even hosted a film premiere at the Pedro to raise money to keep it open.
The current project has been made possible by the backing of the iconic Holborn Studios, Europe’s largest photographic studio complex, based on Eagle Wharf Road, Hoxton.
Billy McCartney, Managing Director at Holborn Studios said: “It’s inspiring to see young people making the best of themselves and, as a proud part of the same community, we are happy to lend a hand by providing funding to the Pedro.”
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Dozens of local boys and girls regularly box at the club and the centre also has a music studio, games room and football teams for various ages.
“We love what we do at the Pedro and find that boxing has an amazing impact on the young people we work with, who might otherwise be drawn into gang crime,” said James.
READ MORE: Former champions in attendance as Pedro host annual show
The Pedro Club in Rushmore Road was originally set up by Baroness Harwood to help deprived children in the borough and it has become well known for its work tackling gang crime.
“There can be no doubt that boxing gives young people a focus and discipline that is of benefit to society and can help them to turn their lives around. We can’t afford to lose clubs like the Pedro,” said Mickey Helliet of KOKC.
To find out more about Pedro youth club visit http://pedroclub.com/
For more information about Holborn Studios click here
To find out more about how KOKC is helping community boxing clubs visit www.knockoutknifecrime.com
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