A former world cruiserweight champion and TV boxing pundit has thrown his weight behind the campaign to save OzBox in Derbyshire.
Johnny Nelson is bidding to raise £15,000 to keep the much-loved scheme going.
OzBox – which provides free fitness sessions to young people in a bid to keep them healthy and off the streets – will be axed on January 31 because of budget cuts.
Sky TV commentator Mr Nelson, who was the World Boxing Organization’s cruiserweight champion for more than seven years, having successfully defended the title 13 times, said: “OzBox helps thousands to succeed and I want to help raise the funds to keep OzBox open in Derbyshire.”
Help with his campaign HERE.
An ONLINE PETITION aimed at saving OzBox has currently been signed by almost 900 people.
OzBox user Johnathan Scothern said: “When I first started OzBox I was really depressed as I got bullied through school and college. There were times I thought about ending my life. I’m now 23 and wouldn’t be where I am today without OzBox.”
Debbie Saxby and her son have attended OzBox sessions for more than seven years. She said: “There is a strong community spirit within OzBox, rather like an extended family, supporting and encouraging each other. The closure of such a valuable scheme would leave a huge gap in the community.”
Sophie Long said: “I grew up being told I’d never be good enough for anyone or anything – then I started OzBox. I was a very depressed person but it taught me to be strong and boost my self-esteem.”
OzBox has been funded by Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire County Council since 2003 and was supported by money from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) for the past three years.
The BLF money runs out soon and police and council chiefs are unable to continue funding the scheme because they are having to make “devastating” budget cuts.