Littlehampton boxing gym’s plans to boost community spirit

A Littlehampton martial arts gym has come leaps and bounds since opening last year and now wants to give back to the community.

Last month, British Military Martial Arts (BMMA) received a cheque of £500 from the Arun Veterans Breakfast Club, given to them at The Lamb in Rustington to support the gym’s fit and feed campaign.

Head instructor Gary Hart, 47, said: “Having the veterans support means a lot. Their sentiment has forever been at the very fabric of society and they are genuinely doing it to help the community.”

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The campaign, which first begun in February half term, will run every Friday from 5.15pm until 6pm, giving children the opportunity to attend the gym in Littlehampton High Street and have food and a fitness session for just £1.

British Military Martial Arts and the Arun Veterans Breakfast Club at The Lamb in Rustington

Tying into the fit and feed campaign is a new initiative that Gary and his team have come up with – the community unity initiative.

It is so BMMA can understand how they can work within the community and get it re-established.

Gary said: “Littlehampton is perfect for our new community unity initiative because one, it needs it, and two, we’ve got churches that are starting to suffer, so we’ve re-established our boxing club and kickboxing acadmey within the church and are working with them in the community to inspire youngsters and allow them to believe that people do care about what happens to them now and in the future.

“We are trying to leave good foundations which is why myself and Poppy, my partner, are starting up community interest company which all the boxing clubs will be under, called The Rock.

Gary and Poppy from British Military Martial Arts receiving a £500 cheque from Arun Veterans Breakfast Club at The Lamb in Rustington

“We will be based out of St James The Great Church, the new hub for counselling, mental health, fitness and nutrition and working with other companies and charities in the community.”

BMMA has also announced the gym is now officially affiliated with England Boxing, which Gary said makes it the only England-affiliated club in the area.

He added: “Adrian Clark used to box for England and had an affiliated club in Worthing. Myself and Adrian met, he’s an ex-Royal Marine, I’m an ex-Para, we had loads in common and got talking and knew exactly what we wanted to do.

“We invited England down, they came in to our gym in the High Street, had a look at the place and ticked it off and from that Hastings Boxing donated us some stuff and Maverick Stars will be donating too.”

It is very exciting for the team, said Gary. He added: “All of this makes me feel very driven, one door that opens tend to then lead onto the next phase and I feel like we keep evolving, even though the endgame is being in St James the Great Church.

“But what all of this does do is give all the kids in the boxing and kickboxing clubs a great sense of pride, loads of confidence, they are getting fit, and they are good strong young people that are going to grow up to be good strong adults, with good minds and good hearts.”

Gary would like to hear from businesses who want to invest or put some charitable money into the community initiative. People can email him at [email protected] or call 07526846297.

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