Nottingham Boxing Academy faces uncertain future – despite being thrown lifeline

Jawaid Khaliq, who grew up in The Meadows, became the first British Asian boxing world champion in 2000 when he won the IBO welterweight title.
By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

A boxing academy threatened with closure has enough cash to survive until March 2023 – but its future is still in the balance.

Jawaid Khaliq MBE, who grew up in The Meadows, became the first British Asian boxing world champion in 2000 when he won the IBO welterweight title.

For the last 15 years he has been running boxing classes at the Sycamore Centre in St Ann’s, where he works with up to 60 young people a day who are at risk of becoming involved in crime. He also provides mentoring sessions.

In July, the JK Boxing Academy said it was at risk of closure after its rent was increased from £368 to £1,462 a month.

Charity The Renewal Trust rents the building from Nottingham City Council and sub-lets to the academy and Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum.

The trust was advised this year that the funding it receives from the Labour-run authority would be reduced by 24 per cent.

It said the boxing academy’s previous rent of £13.48 per day was “considerably below market rate” and that the council cuts had “further exacerbated the position”.

This week Mr Khaliq said kind donations from the local community following a public appeal, meant the academy was able to sign a new lease until March 2023.

But it still faces an uncertain future as it cannot sustain the high rent – and there are fears about what will happen to the building after March.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We have got some donations but there is still a lot to pay. I am trying to manage as long as I can.

“If I can’t manage the money before March we may have to close. We are getting 50 to 60 children off the streets a day and it is to the council’s benefit as we are helping services like the police and social services.

“We are also not sure if the council wants to sell the building.”

A’isha Rahman Khan, director at the academy, added: “We are having to pay £1,462 a month. People have kindly donated money, but it is very uncertain after March 2023.

“We are very stressed about it, but what can we do? We don’t want to close. We desperately need help or a premises.”

Nottingham City Council is selling off land and buildings it no longer requires to boost its budget and reduce its debt levels, which currently sit at around £900m.

It has already made more than £30m from sales over the last two years and hopes to make £90m more in the future.

Potential sales include The Guildhall and the former Central Library in Angel Row. The council says it has no plans to sell off the Sycamore Centre.

The Renewal Trust said no decision on the future of its tenancy at the Sycamore Centre had been taken.

A spokeswoman said: “This is a decision for the Renewal Trust Board, and will very much depend on the terms on offer from Nottingham City Council at the next renewal date.

“If we do choose not to renew our tenancy in the future, this will first be communicated to Nottingham City Council as our landlords and JK Boxing Academy and Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum as our licensees.”

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