IF the council had gone ahead with its plans to cut its rent support to the voluntary and community sector on Tuesday night they would have pulled the plug on an organisation that has won national recognition.
Indeed Matchborough Boxing Club has been so successful it’s getting a Royal visitor next month when the Duke of Kent drops in to discover just how successful it has been in combating crime, beating obesity and giving young people a real sense of purpose.
Its manager Sarah Lee said: “Without that subsidy we are simply not sustainable.
“When I heard about their plans to remove the rent concessions I felt a bit hard done by.
“They’ve put a value on our building which does not reflect the condition we found it in.
“We’re talking about two derelict shops and a rat infested public toilet. There was no electric and the roof leaked.
“It was never worth what they valued it at and they were expecting us to pay an extra £17,000 while its been us who’ve invested £50,000 in the premises.
“We’ve improved it through our own efforts not theirs.
“The council said we’d all be notified by letter about their plans, but I didn’t get one.
“And we’ve been serving the community here for eight to nine years with 300 visitors a week working in all sectors.
“We have kids with behaviourial problems, people coming in just to get fit.
“Think of the cost to society if we weren’t here – we’re tackling obesity, crime, keeping people off the streets. The cost to society would be massive.
“We’ve got the Duke of Kent coming in November to acknowledge the community value of the club.”
Like in many other voluntary organisations Sarah has been using her own money to keep the club running.
“I’ve been subsidising it for six to seven years, and if there’s any money to come out of it should be to pay me.
“To have the concession withdrawn would be an insult.”