How ALIVE ABC became ALIVE
In late 2015 during a construction task at the VIA ALIVE Centre that was carried out by 33 Armoured Engineer Squadron as part of pre-deployment training, the VIA Team were approached by the Troop Staff Sergeant, Chris Milligan who was carrying out the task about the possibility of starting a boxing gym at the centre.
This wasn’t something that had been considered by VIA but we are always looking at new ways we can help veterans so we began to look into the merits of having a boxing gym and how it would help.
It had always been our thinking that there were three distinct communities the first being armed forces serving personnel, secondly the veterans community and thirdly the local civilian community and that generally the three communities never really mixed with each other. One of the biggest issues that face ALL serving personnel is leaving the forces at some point and many struggle to find their place in the civilian world.
VIA saw a boxing gym as a way of bringing these three distinct communities together breaking down any barriers and easing transition in the future for serving personnel, helping veterans transition into the local community and bringing an understanding of the armed forces to the local community.
Plans were made and grants applied for from the Sports Lottery and St.James’s Place which were rewarded to enable VIA to buy equipment to set up the gym. We also received a donation of £2,000 from Working Environments which enabled us to complete the gym.
Once funding was in place, equipment was purchased and the gym set up ready to open in August 2016.
The gym opened for its first session on August 02nd 2016 and was incredibly well attended and has continued to grow and is open 3 nights per week on a Tuesday and Thursday to all and on Wednesday for carded boxers. Many also use the gym to improve their fitness and involves whole families.
On a Tuesday and Thursday there are two sessions with the first training sessions starting at:
- 1800 hrs – Juniors ages 7 to 15 and
- 1845 hrs – Seniors 16+
Trainers for ALIVE ABC are Chris ‘Spike’ Milligan
and Tony ‘Jack’ Russell