A new initiative to help young people improve their lives through the power of boxing has secured funding to support a valued gym and community centre.
Knock Out Knife Crime (KOKC) is providing money to support 10 young boxers at the Pedro Club in Hackney, including funding training kit such as gloves, headguards, vests and shorts.
This has been made possible by the backing of the iconic Holborn Studios, Europe’s largest photographic studio complex, based on Eagle Wharf Road, Hoxton.
“We’ve long admired – and supported – the work that James Cook MBE does at the Pedro” says Mickey Helliet of KOKC. “There can be no doubt that boxing gives young people a focus and discipline that is of benefit to society and can help them to turn their lives around. By teaming up with local businesses like Holborn Studios, who really care about the communities in which they operate, KOKC can have a great impact, and especially in this extremely difficult time when so many gyms are closed and the opportunities for young people just aren’t there. We can’t afford to lose clubs like the Pedro.”
Dozens of local boys and girls regularly box at the club, which has been closed since the beginning of lockdown in mid-March. The centre also has a music studio, games room and football teams for various ages.
“We love what we do at the Pedro and find that boxing has an amazing impact on the young people we work with, who might otherwise be drawn into gang crime” says James Cook MBE. “The coronavirus crisis has been very difficult for us and it’s the first time we’ve had to shut our doors since we rescued the club from closure in 2003. This investment from KOKC and Holborn Studios is really welcome and comes at an uncertain time when other sources of funding are being cut. We’re keen to get back open supporting the youngsters who need us.”
Holborn Studios provides ‘definitive studio hire’ and has been the setting for iconic photo shoots since 1979. “We visited Pedro with KOKC shortly before lockdown and as soon as we met James we knew we wanted to help,” says Billy McCartney of Holborn Studios. “It’s inspiring to see young people making the best of themselves and, as a proud part of the same community, we are happy to lend a hand by providing funding to Pedro.”