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MPs take up boxingMPs today took to the ring at Fitzroy Lodge Amateur Boxing Club at a ‘boxing taster session’ organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Boxing.

The taster session was to introduce MPs to the work of amateur boxing clubs, highlight the social benefits of boxing, and enable MPs to get out of the bubble of Westminster into the real world.

The taster session is the beginning of a ‘twinning’ of Parliament with Fitzroy Lodge Amateur Boxing Club, which is situated within minutes of the House of Commons.

Charlotte Leslie leads boxing MPsMPs who attended are Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, where Fitzroy Lodge is situated; Jonathan Djanogly MP, John Cryer MP, Phillip Lee MP, David Davies MP. As well as training, the MP’s and press took time to speak to Fitzroy Lodge boxers and members of Carney’s Community (the charity attached to Fitzroy Lodge that uses, amongst many other tools, boxing fitness training to engage disadvantaged young people). This enabled them to hear “from the horse’s mouth” the benefits boxing and boxing clubs have on the local community.

Chair of the group, Charlotte Leslie, (MP for Bristol North West) who enjoyed boxing training as a youngster, said:

This is a great way to get us MPs out of the bubble of Westminster, and firmly embedded in the real world – and get a fantastic work out at the same time. Fitzroy Lodge may only be a few hundred meters from Parliament, but in many ways it is a different world. By bringing MPs to the gym, and forging an ongoing relationship between Parliament and Fitzroy Lodge, I hope we can in some way bridge the gap between politics, and the real world.

We also hope to continue to shine a light on boxing and its impact on young people. Clubs like Fitzroy Lodge really do change lives and communities, but are often struggling and need all the support they can get. We aim to show policy makers that boxing clubs are often as close as you’ll get to a silver bullet in tackling gang culture, and behaviour that leads to rioting, and that resources channelled here could not be better spent. In joining the club and using it, I hope MPs can help contribute to keeping Fitzroy Lodge flourishing and keeping its doors open to young people for many years to come.

The Taster Session is part of on-going work of the APPG on Boxing highlighting the social effects of boxing. During the Olympics, the group published research suggesting young people who went to a boxing club were significantly less likely than their peers to be involved in the riots of August 2011. The Group is currently undergoing an enquiry into collecting evidence of the impact of boxing, and persuading policy makers to put boxing at the heart of educational and social interventions.

Charlotte Leslie from ITV Westcountry on Vimeo.

Originally posted December 2012, reposted for website update