Brandon Boxing Club punching above its weight with new equipment grant Release Date: 13 June 2018 A thriving County Durham community boxing club is continuing to punch above its weight after winning funding for new training equipment through the local branch of Newcastle Building Society. Brandon Boxing Club was set up in 2013 with a view to giving anyone from around the region the chance to get fit and learn new boxing skills, regardless of age, sex or disability, and has grown to now have well over 100 people accessing its facilities every week. The club recently moved into a brand new, purpose-built facility at Brandon Sports Club, and has extended its operations to include more than 20 classes every week for everyone from rookies to experienced amateur boxers and other local people simply looking to get some exercise. As part of the move into its new home, the club has been looking at ways of meeting the growing need for new and better equipment that its members can use. After being nominated by Alex Oliver, head coach at Brandon Boxing Club and a customer at Newcastle Building Society's Saddler Street branch in Durham city centre, a £795 grant has been given by the Society to enable Brandon Boxing Club to buy a new body protector, new coach's shield, two new punch bags and four new Alba head guards. The funding has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which has been set up to provide grants to charities and community groups that are located in or around the communities served by the Society's branch network, and put forward for support by its customers. Brandon Boxing Club's members mostly hail from surrounding villages, but its growing reputation is also bringing in boxers from right across County Durham, and while maximising participation is the club's main aim, it also has a number of members who have boxed successfully at a national and international level. As well as running the boxing club, Alex is also involved with raising money for a range of local charities and good causes, including Trinity School Durham where his daughter Kara-mai is a pupil. He was also awarded the British Empire Medal in the most recent Queen's New Year's Honours list for services to charity and to the community. In recognition of his community commitment, he and Kara-mai were invited earlier this year to perform the official opening ceremony at the Society's new Saddler Street branch. Alex Oliver says: “Moving into our new home has given the club a huge lift, and as well as being somewhere that dozens of members regularly come to box and exercise, it's also made us a real hub for people right across the local community. "As well as helping them get fit and learn new skills, boxing also helps our members develop self-confidence, resilience and character, and we've seen the positive impact that the work many of our young people have done here on their lives outside the ring. "Getting this sort of support from Newcastle Building Society makes a big difference to the type and quality of training sessions we can offer, and also saved us the considerable time and effort that would otherwise be required to raise the money needed for this new kit." Since its launch in 2016, the Fund has contributed £200,000 in grants to projects across the Society's North East and Cumbria heartland, and is so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 97,000 people. The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. Grant applications for a maximum of £3,000 can be made in any Society branch or via the newcastle.co.uk website by customers who wish to support their local communities. Steven Hillary, manager at Newcastle Building Society's Saddler Street branch, adds: “Alex is tireless in his efforts to help improve the lives of so many people in this area, and the club provides a brilliant example of what a community sports club should be all about. “Providing direct support to the communities in which we’re based is central to the way in which the Society works, and we're very pleased to be strengthening our relationship with such an inspirational group."