A BOXING CLUB which has been a vital part part of the community for more than 30 years has been forced to close after a community centre shut.

The community group that ran the Trenham Centre in Pitsea prior to the pandemic has now handed the keys back to Basildon Council.

As a result, families and the team behind Basildon Freestyle Boxing Club have been left devastated and haven’t been able to hold a session since before Covid hit. .

The club was founded by Rob Judd 32 years ago.

Mr Judd said: “We’ve had about 80 pupils go on to get world titles and had lots of success and it’s all been stopped.

“It’s heartbreaking and not fair and the families are just as devastated as we are. I’m getting so many calls from families to say how upset they and their children are about this.

“It’s horrendous and even if it does need money being spent on it we’ve offered to spend it and we don’t see why it can’t be open just for us.”

The council is now reviewing options for the centre.

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Lee Emery, from Laindon, said his son gained confidence from the club.

He said: “I went there as a child and now my son who is now 16 has been going for years. It’s just ridiculous and disgusting that it’s shut.

“My son now doesn’t want to go out and barely comes out of his room.

“It’s really affected him and he went from a very shy boy to someone who was in contests. It helped give him confidence and the closure has impacted him.

“It’s a great club and is more than just a club, it’s like one big family.

“My son became very confident but has taken a big step back. It worried me as we spent a lot of time getting him out of his shell.”

A Basildon Council spokesman said: “Though owned by the council, the centre was operated by a community group which unexpectedly handed the keys to the facility back to the council recently.

“The council is now reviewing options in order to ascertain the future of the centre and further details will follow in due course. The council would be happy to explore options for supporting the group with finding an alternative delivery space in the interim at least, whilst this review is taking place.”