Prevent2Protect received a grant from the Community Asset Fund in October to run Boxing Fitness Sessions. The Project is for 15 participants from the Recovery Community to take part in Boxing based fitness over 15, two-hour sessions that will run until the beginning of March 2024. It is being run in conjunction with Million Styles Boxing Club on Ratcliffe Street, Darwen.

They launched their project on Wednesday 15th November and it is already oversubscribed. They were pleasantly surprised at the level of interest and, rather than turning anyone away, they extended it to 17 participants as they didn’t want anybody to miss out. Unfortunately, they cannot accommodate anymore due to the size of the venue but they are operating a reserve list so, if any participant should drop out, they can immediately fill their place.

Boxing, traditionally if erroneously, is seen as a male orientated activity so it is heartening to see that the group that started is mixed. Although a large number of participants have come from the Thomas Project, some have also come from the wider ROOTS Community.

The Boxing Fitness Sessions provide participants a means of keeping active, creates connections, helps build relationships whilst also providing structure and discipline; all being essential if one is to stay successfully in Recovery.

The Project offers valuable routes into volunteering. One of those will lead to volunteering directly with Prevent2Protect across their other projects across the Northwest. Their main focus is providing their Gang for Life? Project to children aged 10-16. The project is a combination of Sports Activities (Sport for Life Project) to promote good physical and mental wellbeing amongst their beneficiaries, and Anti-Gang Educational sessions covering topics such as Grooming & Peer Pressure, County Lines Gangs, missed opportunities and much more. They are proud to work with ex-gang members that have changed their lives around and are willing to share their own very personal stories with beneficiaries, which leaves a huge impact. Additionally, participants will be able to volunteer directly with Million Styles Boxing Club.

All the Boxing Fitness participants will be offered membership at the club once Project ends. Prevent2Protect are confident that they will be able to secure grant funding from elsewhere to enable them to provide this commitment.

Apologies for the lighting with the photographs. The club have recently replaced them which they say improves the experience for participants but makes it awful for photography but there is no doubt that they worked hard, right from the start. There was no “lead in”, it was straight into intense Boxing Circuit Training. Daniella Nuttall, one of Prevent2Protect Directors said that if you have any sensitivity to language, leave it at the front door. Although there was respect for everyone in abundance, the reaction (after an hour of training) to Coach Howard O’Neill’s announcement of one more session was “Oh for **** sake”, they all got down to it and put as much effort into at as they did at the start. Respect here is the apt word….everyone showed it to each other and encouraged each other – just like in other aspects of the Recovery Peer Support Arena.

As has been mentioned before, the project is over-subscribed and a reserve list is in operation. Should anyone be interested they can contact the project directly by emailing or contact Geoff Wilkinson at Community CVS on 07545 616492 or email Should there be sufficient additional interest they will be encouraged and supported in submitting another grant application to enable this to happen.