Northern Ireland

Monkstown boxing club gets lottery grant

Colin Jackson and Paul Johnston
Image caption Colin Jackson and Paul Johnston from Monkstown Amateur Boxing Club in Newtownabbey

A Newtownabbey sports club is to receive £377,690 to continue its work with disadvantaged young people.

The Monkstown Amateur Boxing Club is one of nine organisations to get a total of £3.2m of Big Lottery funding.

The club works with young people who are not involved in education, employment or training and are at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.

The money will go towards coaching and mentoring young people in boxing.

Colin Jackson, 27, first came to the boxing club at the age of 13.

"I was hanging about with the wrong crowd at the time and to be honest it could have gone either way. I was drinking and getting involved in anti-social behaviour," he said.

"When it came to school it was lucky if I went there twice a week.

"Then I came along to the club in Monkstown and they helped me realise that I was capable of bigger things. I'm now about to finish a degree in structural engineering at Queens.

"I'm really proud with what I've achieved and it's down to the support of the boxing club."

Chairman Billy Snoddy has seen many young people benefit from the club.

"Sport, and boxing in particular, is a great way of harnessing the energy and passion of young people, teaching them about self worth, respect, hard work and dedication," he said.

"It is a great way of impacting on young people, building their confidence and trust, and showing them that they can make a positive difference to their lives and communities.

"We are not just helping to improve young people's health and fitness, we are supporting them to find jobs, improve their skills, boost their self worth and showing them they can do anything they put their minds to."

The Nexus Institute has been awarded over £200,000 to help vulnerable and isolated people in the Western and Southern Health and Social Service Trust areas.