Upper Holloway community centre and Islington Boxing Club celebrate a secure future

Pictured from left to right, front row: Liz Case (secretary, WPCA), Cllr Catherine West (leader of I

Pictured from left to right, front row: Liz Case (secretary, WPCA), Cllr Catherine West (leader of Islington Council), Cllr Barbara Sidnell (Islington Council's executive member for tenants, residents and communities), Lenny Hagland (chairman of Islington Boxing Club). Back row: Cllr Kaya Makarau Schwartz with Islington Council officers Giles Rankin, Gerry Gutwin and Wilf Landridge. - Credit: Archant

Pugilists and park users were celebrating after the future of two cherished community institutions was secured this week.

Islington Boxing Club, in Hazellville Road, Hornsey Rise, and the Whittington Park Community Centre, in Yerbury, Upper Holloway, have had their leases extended by 25 and 20 years respectively at a knock down rate by the town hall.

Islington Council made the peppercorn deal to help the two groups thrive in what they say is a deprived part of the borough.

Islington Boxing Club is one of the most successful in the country with over a thousand regular users and has produced numerous national and international champions.

With seven football teams also based there, the building is full to the brim, but the security of the new deal means it can now get down to the serious business of fundraising for facilities.

Bevis Allen, a trustee at Islington Boxing Club, said: “We would like to express our deepest thanks to the council. We are now able to move forward with our plans to redevelop the current site which will allow us to be able to reach out and help even more young people than we are currently able to do.”

Meanwhile the Whittington Park Community Association (WPCA) put on classes for people, including special activities for the over 60s, and children.

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The council has set aside £50,000 to help stabilise one of their premises, and to pay for building work and refurbishment to another.

Liz Case, secretary of the WPCA, said: “All our current users and hirers are really excited about the new plans for the centre and the lift will make the whole building accessible to everybody. The refurbishment will ensure that Whittington Park Community Centre will be a fantastic resource for the community, enabling WPCA to continue to provide quality services for all ages.”

Cllr Barbara Sidnell , Islington Council’s executive member for tenants, residents and communities, said: “They both play an important role in helping our residents lead healthy, active and independent lives. That’s why we’re taking action to help secure their futures.”