Jeremy Corbyn gets in the ring and shows off his left hook in support of homeless boxing club

"People here aren't looking for a title belt, they're looking for a place back in the world. Everyone's a champion for just walking in the door."

Matt Murphy
Tuesday 20 September 2016 18:37
Jeremy Corbyn visits boxing club for homeless

When they've got a title bout just around the corner, it's not often the public get a glimpse of a political heavyweight taking time out to spar with just anyone.

But when Jeremy Corbyn visited Caris Boxing Club for young homeless people, he was even ready to jump in the ring to throw some punches of his own.

The Labour Party leader came down to the club in his Islington North constituency on Sunday to speak to some of its members and discuss homelessness in Britain.

“You should use those [gloves] in the House of Commons,” a spectator joked. “Don’t tempt me,” Mr Corbyn replied.

The club was founded in 2011 by Sam Hadfield - who has been a coach for 25 years - and was the first group directed at helping the homeless to register itself with the Amateur Boxing Association.

“There are people here today who have come to the borderlines of suicide because of depression,” Sam explained. “There are some who are still homeless, and then there are others who I’ve been training for maybe three years, where they’ve carried on coming.

“Every Sunday morning people come down and have a workout or have a chat. Sometimes people might not even want to train.

“The aim for me, is just trying to support those people who need a little bit of help. It’s all voluntary. All the trainers, therapists that come down, they do it for free. It’s just to try and get someone back on the right path, and change their lives back round.”

Homelessness is still a pressing issue in the UK. An inquiry by MPs that published its findings last month found the number of rough sleepers in England rose by 30 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

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On his visit, Mr Corbyn explained his “absolute determination” to build the houses needed to eradicate a problem that “just isn’t right” in 21st-century Britain.

“Sam has done a brilliant job in giving some space and opportunity to people who would otherwise be in a very bad place,” he told the Independent.

“Reaching out to people going through a bad time in life can be absolutely crucial and life-changing for them.

“It’s up to the rest of us to make sure the money is there in the councils to build the housing necessary so we don’t have people ever sleeping on the streets of our country.”

The self-funded group, which has hosted sessions for Labour MP Douglas Alexander in the past, has not just gained support from politicians, but also former British and world champions such as Frank Bruno – who is the face of their upcoming fundraiser.

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