A boxing academy headed by Hull professional Tommy Coyle is to become a free facility to under-17s thanks to the backing of city health organisations and local businesses who have been impressed by its knockout success.
The Tommy Coyle Headstart Academy, in Bean Street, west Hull, was opened by the lightweight IBF International Champion last March, as the 25-year-old was keen to ensure he made a positive impact in his local community through his status as a sporting hero.
Through daily sessions at the gym, and a Box Clever programme which sees Tommy both visit schools and welcome classes to the academy, hundreds of children have learned valuable life, fitness and boxing skills.
Schools and teachers have seen a positive response in many pupils who had been struggling and lacking motivation in class, and that success has led to Coyle now securing sponsorship to make the academy free to all under-17s for the next three years.
NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and City Health Care Partnership CIC have joined forces with local businesses Neil Hudgell Solicitors, Sewell on the go, Lime Property and Esa Associates in Coyle’s corner on the venture.
Emma Latimer, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Officer, said: “Improving the health of Hull’s next generation is one of our biggest priorities as a CCG, so being involved in the Headstart Academy has been an honour for us.
“It’s great to support the academy as we know the work Tommy and his team does is already having a genuine and positive impact on many young people. By working with Tommy we can encourage and enable the next generation to take an active role in their health and wellbeing, and improve their aspirations for the future.”
As a result, the academy will now be able to reach and have a positive impact on even more young people from across the city, much to the fighter’s delight.
“The aim from day one with the academy was for me to be able to give something back and provide a facility which would have a positive impact on young people,” Coyle said.
“The success we have enjoyed, and the feedback I have had from schools through the Box Clever programme, has been absolutely tremendous.
“Many kids that come here may struggle in the classroom and at school in general. Coming here gives many something positive to focus on, rather than choosing the wrong road and getting into trouble. They learn about discipline, dedication, and life skills. They also meet new friends, and if we can stop one kid from going the wrong way in life, we have had a success.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed by this support from the local health bodies and businesses. It shows they believe in what we’re doing at the gym, and that they all feel the academy is achieving its goal of playing a positive role in keeping young people fit, motivated and inspired.
“Their wonderful financial support will mean many more young people are able to come into the academy and learn valuable life skills, and live healthier, over the next three years.”
The sponsorship package between all parties will equate to £150,000 over the next three years, covering running costs at the academy and allowing young people to use its facilities and attend classes for free.
“The reality is, many young people want to be able to go to a gym and fitness classes, but they can’t afford to do it,” Coyle added.
“Through this phenomenal support, we are making the facilities truly accessible to all young people. It’s a real first, and I am extremely proud of that, and grateful to all those supporting me.”
Andrew Burnell, Chief Executive of City Health Care Partnership CIC, said: “We are delighted to have the chance to support a local sportsman in helping our community to improve the life chances of its young people. Tommy’s passion and commitment in setting up the Headstart Academy deserve recognition and encouragement and, as a health care business with wider social aims, it’s great for us to be able to have a hand in its success.”
Neil Hudgell, managing director of Neil Hudgell Solicitors, said: “Tommy is a great role model for young children. He is very passionate about the city he is from and he has been really determined to give something back through his boxing academy. Not many successful sports stars put so much effort into giving back, so we are delighted to help him as he is making a positive difference.”
Patrick Sewell, Managing Director of Sewell on the go said: “As a local independent business, we’re always keen to support initiatives that matter to local people. The Box Clever programme is a great way of engaging young people and helping them develop their life skills through memorable activity.”
Paul Green, owner and managing director of Lime Property, said: “Tommy has done a fantastic job of getting young kids off the street, off the sofas at home, and into the gym to learn about healthy living and keeping fit, and that is something we are delighted to support. The academy has proved a hugely positive community facility, and we are delighted to be able to support him and make it more accessible to all.”