TWO sports clubs in a village are getting a major expansion.

Work has just started on a new purpose-built boxing club at Brandon Sports Club, while a new cricket practice area has also be developed.

The development means more than 100 members of Brandon Boxing Club will be able to train at the venue from the autumn.

Loading article content

The club, has been based in the Brandon Carrside Youth Club in the village since it was formed by coach Alex Oliver, but is now hoping to double its membership.

He said: “It’s absolutely massive for us. For the last four years we’ve been in a local youth club so we’ve had to set up and dismantle on a weekly basis. It’s time consuming and can be a bit dangerous so for us to have somewhere and be able to walk in and turn on the lights is fantastic.

“It’s bigger, we’ll have two rings and more equipment and we’ll be able to cater for more people.”

Brandon Sports Club has been the focus for physical activity in the village for almost 30 years and is home to it’s cricket club, which also hosts matches for Durham County Cricket Club’s second XI.

Sport England has given around £80,000 to build the purpose built boxing facility at the site, as well as a new cricket practice area with eight grass wickets and an artificial one.

Funding has also been given by Brandon councillors Paul Taylor and John Turnbull.

Cricket club chairman Ian Johnson said: "It's fantastic. It's something we have been looking to do for many years and we're very grateful to everyone who has helped make it happen.

"With the development that's going on at the minute it is the biggest thing that's happened to the club since it opened in 1989."

Local companies have donated labour and materials for the boxing facility, including the steel frame building, floor, windows and doors.

The boxing club was set up in January 2013 to give young people the chance to take part in a disciplined, energetic and socially interactive environment to try and stop them from hanging around on street.

It currently has eight sessions a week with ten qualified coaches and also has links with Durham Trinity School, catering for children with special needs.

The club has 20 members eligible to compete in England Boxing tournaments, which Mr Oliver is also hoping to expand in the new venue.

He added: “It’s going to be brilliant having the building when ever we want it. There have been times I’ve had to do pad work with boxers on my drive when they’re training for championships.

“In the future that’s not going to be a problem.”

It is hoped the new facility will be ready in September.