A BOXING gym, which has done great work in the community, is in danger of shutting down for good, after falling into a financial crisis due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the government announced that all pubs, restaurants and gyms must close, as the country went into lockdown.

The Lion Gym, in Robin Mills, Greengates, has been helping people battle their mental health demons by hosting boxing and fitness classes for the last few years.

The gym also has a satellite boxing club at the charity Centrepoint, where it promotes health and wellbeing to 16 to 25-year-old homeless individuals, who benefit from their sessions.

However, all of the gym's charity work has been forced to stop and hundreds of people are losing out on the services that it provides.

The gym's hard work could cease to continue if it is unable to raise £3,000 to fund the debt that running no classes or gym memberships has caused.

Founder, Khalil Alam, thinks it is essential that the gym can continue to do its great work in helping people across the city.

He said: “I would hate the gym to go under because it is making a big impact in the community.

“The people who use our facilities, some suffer from mental health issues, so they use boxing as a release.

“It is about helping the kids, I know quite a few who are on the verge of crime and we have turned their lives around.

“We mentor them as well by speaking to them on a regular basis. If there is an issue, their parents can approach us.

“If they continue with their bad behaviour and hanging round with people that they shouldn’t, then the rules are quiet strict, the chances are they are going to get thrown out of the club. If they are competing and enjoying it, they won’t want that to happen.

“They know that there is support there. We work with the charities and can be that gateway for them. The gym is doing a lot in the background, as well as running activities day to day.”

Alam added: “There are things that we have already paid for. We were going to do some improvements to the gym. Before this pandemic started, we paid out for the works to take place.

“The work is still going to go ahead but we didn’t envisage this thing happening and our gym closing.

“Financially, it is a bit of a struggle but we are trying to sort things out. It hurts us more because we are a charity who relies on public donations.

“There is a possibility of grants and so forth but you have to apply for them. I don’t know when or if we could get them.”

Alam opened the gym in 2016 after running the ‘Contender’ programme with the West Yorkshire Police, where they would go into schools and youth clubs to do some non-contact boxing and discuss issues surrounding drugs and knife crime.

Therefore, the boxing coach decided to expand it and start his own hub for people suffering from these problems, so they have a place to come on a regular basis rather than seeing them for only four weeks at a time.

He added: “From the Contender project, we developed Lion Gym to work with the young people and adults.

“If people don’t want to compete, they have got a private gym. People who are dealing with mental health problems, they don’t want to go into public areas, they can come here and it is private to them.

“There are people who have got visible signs of self-harming on their arms but since they have been involved in the boxing, that has stopped.”

In these uncertain times, it is important for people who are struggling to have a location like the Lion Gym to go back to once things get back to normal.

If you would like to donate to the JustGiving page, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/theliongym-bradford