ABAE President Keith Walters with coaches Paul kapnisi and Q ShillingfordHeart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy has become the first boxing club in Hampshire to achieve ABAE Clubmark status.The accreditation means the club meets Sport England’s standards of good practice in the areas of duty of care and child protection, the boxing programme, sports equity and ethics, and club management.

The club, known locally as H.O.P, was only formed in 2008 and in only a very short amount of time has produced Seven National Champions and lots of Hampshire and Southern Counties Champions of all ages and genders.

The club who this year won the NEWS sports club of the year 2012 and two of the boxers were runner up in the Sportsman of the year and young sportsman of the year 2012.

The very popular Boxing Academy has provided a safe, friendly environment for all young people since its formation and is very proud of the roots it has created, particularly in the City Centre and local estates. It now hopes to continue its good work for grass roots boxing in the city as a Clubmark club.

The club was supported throughout the Clubmark process by the H.O.P Clubmark Officer and Full Badge Boxing Coach/Tutor Alex Von Luenen, who led the process over 18 months. Alex explained “H.O.P has worked very hard over the past eighteen months to achieve the accreditation. Given the tough times we are in, achieving this status will help the club to apply for any funding that may be available to support it. More importantly, any parent can feel confident when leaving their child in the club they will enjoy their time in a safe, friendly and disciplined environment. This achievement celebrates the contribution that each and every one of the club’s boxers, coaches and volunteers make in ensuring that the club continues to develop and succeed.”

Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy works in partnership and directly with Charter Academy through the GB Boxing Awards and ASDAN CoPE Educational Boxing Programme plus with other local schools and youth clubs in Portsmouth.

H.O.P also works closely with the young people in the city who have been disengaged from main stream school offering an educational qualification in boxing and life skills.

The boxing club is open to all; they cater for people young and old, able-bodied and disabled. It has also helped over 100 young people to achieve GCSE equivalent in amateur boxing ASDAN Cope – using boxing as a curriculum vehicle for achievement over the last 4 years.

Clubmark is the only national cross sports quality accreditation scheme for clubs with junior sections. It is built around a set of core criteria which ensure that accredited clubs operate to a set of consistent, accepted and adopted minimum operating standards. It encourages the development of clubs that encourage young people to take-up sport, improve their talents, possibly play a leadership role and give them the option to initiate and maintain life-long participation in sport is an essential part of supporting the sporting infrastructure in England. Clubmark accreditation means that Sport England recognizes a sports club’s commitment and dedication to providing a quality, welcoming environment for young participants

The club has worked hard to be awarded this accreditation which culminated in a Gym Inspection by the Amateur Boxing Association of England.

Afsheen Panjalizadeh ABAE Essex Boxing Development Officer and ABAE Clubmark assessor for the Amateur Boxing Association of England said that “Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy have shown real commitment in achieving the high standards that Clubmark requires of clubs. The award of Clubmark accreditation is testament to the commitment of all of the club’s coaches and volunteers who work tirelessly to support the ongoing development of their boxers. On behalf of the ABAE I would like to congratulate H.O.P Boxing Academy and I’m sure that they will continue to go from strength to strength in 2013 and beyond.”

These achievements are no coincidence and the club continues to develop, working in partnership with schools, youth clubs, the homeless, Barnardo’s, local Colleges and the Portsmouth University, Parkwood Leisure and the City Council and other agencies to ensure that it offers the best opportunities for young people in the city.

ABAE President Keith WaltersThe Clubmark award was presented to the club on Friday 31st August by the President of the ABA of England Keith Walters who praised the club on its achievement and for the excellent work that it does in the community, adding “As an inclusive and well run club it has sessions that cater for both girls and boys of all levels, and has good links with the local authority and school partnerships. Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy delivers recreational, educational and competitive boxing of the highest level and is one of the Flagship boxing clubs in England”

GB Awards presented by Lord Mayor Frank JonasAlso present and on hand to present the GB Boxing Awards Medals and Certificates to over 30 youngsters was The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Frank Jonas.

The Lord Mayor also presented H.O.P with a Certificate for Quality delivery from the National Educational body ASDAN, for acknowledgment for outstanding practice for delivery of the CoPE Educational Boxing Qualification, which has proven very popular with all students ranging from young people in the mainstream education at Charter Academy and also students that have been excluded from all schools in the city of Portsmouth.

“As a local councilor, I know the value of a properly run club to the community and particularly young people. This award gives parents and all users the confidence that a club offers safe and secure training. I am proud that one of my local community club’s in Portsmouth, is the first to receive this accreditation in Hampshire and I hope there are many more in the city and across the county soon.”

H.O.P Boss “Q” Shillingford expressed “As a local community club we are delighted to have achieved this level of accreditation and feel it is a reflection of and testament to the hard work and dedication shown by everyone in the boxing gym.”

“The club would like to thank all the partners / sponsors for the support shown since opening 4 years ago. As without your support we would not be in the position that we are in today. Thank you”.