Gerry Lavelle has been awarded the Barclays Community Sports Award for October for his fantastic work supporting amateur boxers in Chichester.
Having coached at three boxing clubs in London, Lavelle offered his expertise to amateur boxers in Bognor and Chichester after landing a job at a local estate.
Drumming up interest from locals, Lavelle attracted the support of Sussex police who donated £1,000 to get the St Gerards Amateur Boxing Club started.
Ten years later, the club has around 35 full-time members and has dramatically reduced anti-social behaviour in the area.
Lavelle dedicates many hours a week to coaching members who range from nine to 40 years of age, as well as accompanying them to amateur boxing tournaments and organising an annual exhibition to attract new members and investors.
He has recruited four more qualified coaches for the club and hopes to gain space to admit more members.
Receiving the award, Lavelle said: “Without organisations like Barclays Spaces for Sports, the Football Foundation and Premier League Creating Chances all supporting grass-roots sport, clubs like ours would not be able to survive. The prize money will go a long way in supplying new equipment, and will allow us to redeem our affiliation with the Amateur Boxing Association.”
Former England defender Gareth Southgate, a judge on the Barclays award panel, said, “Clubs like St Gerards are known to reduce anti-social behaviour in local communities, while providing amateur sportsmen and women access to professional coaching staff and facilities.”
The Barclays Community Sports Award is in its second year and one will be given each month throughout the football season, like the awards for the Barclays player and manager of the month.
The awards highlight contributions to grass-roots sports made by individuals.
To nominate a person or organisation for one of the Barclays awards, visit www.barclayscommunitysportsaward.com