Vera Baird DBE KC

Writer, Lecturer, Parliamentary Consultant and Co-Director of Astraea: Gender Justice

PCC Vera Baird steps into the ring to praise the work of local sports group

Special guest Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, was welcomed to Dunston Teams Amateur Boxing Club to see first-hand the excellent work being undertaken by the voluntary sporting group.

Since starting in 2012, the club now has 50 members and has become a hub for the local community – providing a place for young people to exercise, learn new skills and socialise.

Especially for Vera Baird’s visit, members held an exhibition where they showcased a range of training activities, sparring and pad work.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “I was delighted to be invited along to Dunston Teams Amateur Boxing Club to see first-hand the valuable work undertaken by the team. Forming this club was a great idea and it is clearly having a positive effect on the local community. I met a fantastic bunch of young people who spoke very highly of the club, its leaders and the positive opportunities it brings. It really is making a difference and I look forward to seeing this success continue in the future.”

Head Coach at the club, Ernie Blenkiron, said: “We’re very proud of everything the club and its members have achieved and it was a pleasure having Ms Baird along to see our facilities – we’re very grateful of her support for the work we’re doing. Boxing is based on discipline and respect – an ethos we aim to promote through our club. We are working hard to promote our boxing and fitness classes ensuring they are accessible to people of all abilities so that everyone in the community can enjoy them. Whatever your background and whether you’re young, old, male, female – everyone is welcome along.”

Constable Neighbourhood Beat Manager, Ryan Mark, said: “For me, this club ticks all the boxes – it provides youngsters with a sense of belonging and promotes a healthy lifestyle and respectful values. This club demonstrates such great community spirit and is a place where youngsters can come together and take part in sport in a safe environment, off the streets and reducing anti-social behaviour. As an officer, it\’s the perfect place for me to come down and engage with youngsters. We can chat in an informal setting and I believe it really helps build a sense of trust and to break barriers. It is always fantastic to come along and see what a fantastic job the volunteers are doing.”