"Starting up the City of Hull Sport & Community Group in 2010 back then was a no-brainer. The area needed this centre, it was obvious.

Back then our ambitions have become reality and we constantly reflect and review and where necessary adjust our realistic goals. In ten years from now we could be twice the size we are today."

About Us: 'Need'

City of Hull Sport and Community Group CIC is based at the heart of Orchard Park, one of the most deprived communities in England (281/32,844 IMD) located within Hull, the fourth most deprived authority area in England (IMD 2019). With poverty having such a significant impact on the lives of people young and old, the Group’s mission is to use the power of boxing to bring the community together through projects which tackle health and social inequalities. We work collaboratively with public and third sector partners to make our wellbeing facility a real community anchor for residents of the estate, offering a community café, wellbeing and gym space (renovated with over £300,000 worth of Sport England funding in 2014), and a community IT suite (digital poverty in Orchard Park is a significant challenge and has been highlighted as such through the Covid-19 pandemic).


Orchard Park: 'Our Home'.

City of Hull Sport and Community Group CIC was launched in 2010 by three Orchard Park residents committed to tackling community issues. Led to this day by Michael, Robert and Wendy, the CIC employs 7 specialist staff and is supported by a wider team of eleven volunteers who engage in projects.


There are approximately 16,000 people living in the Orchard Park and Greenwood ward. Around 35% of these are aged 20 and under with 15% aged over 65. At 91.8%, the ward has a higher percentage of White British residents than the Hull average (89.7%). It is the second most deprived ward in Hull (out of 21) with only seventeen wards nationally more deprived. 14% of households were in fuel poverty compared to the England average of 11%.


Unemployment is a significant challenge within Orchard Park and Greenwood with the claimant count at 7.5% among men and 4% amongst women (comparable to 4.7% and 2.7% for Hull and 2.4% and 1.5% across England). As of January 2020, a total of 2,459 people of working age (26.6%) were claiming benefits compared with 17.6% across Hull and 10.7% across England. We know that this figure has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic placing hardship on many households.


Life expectancy at birth in Orchard Park and Greenwood is 75.1 years amongst men and 79.6 years amongst women with both significantly lower than the Hull average. Smoking prevalence at 37% is higher than both Hull and national averages which may be a contributing factor in the cancers being a significant cause of death amongst residents. Obesity rates are a concern, with 68% of adults either overweight or obese which contribute to greater rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.



Tackling Inequalities


City of Hull Sport and Community Group have delivered a successful Boxing Academy since 2008, increasing membership to over 250 residents from as young as five, through to seniors in their seventies. Our mission is to support every person entering the gym to be the best that they can be, whether it be progressing through the amateur ranks as a young boxer, or as more is the case, developing positive aspirations and behaviours that cross over into school and aid academic engagement.


We see our work as supporting ‘our family’ and take great pride in supporting our boxers too access broader provision that supports physical and mental wellbeing. A growing area of work centres on eradicating food poverty on the estate, offering access to holiday hunger activities and family cooking programmes that support sustainability.


All our coaches, instructors and staff (recruited under Local Safeguarding Children Board safer recruitment guidelines), are firm advocates for how boxing can be used as a force to improve social mobility. Examples of the Group’s strive for innovation across the last year includes:


  • Working with Humberside Police and the Home Office in 2020 to engage young people, predominantly teenagers, in positive wellbeing and educational evening activity as a way of diverting them away from risk taking behaviour. Across a six month period, twenty-two high risk, vulnerable participants successfully completed an accredited sports leadership award, with 82% stating that the project had a positive impact on their mental wellbeing.


  • Across the first Covid-19 lockdown spanning March 2020 to June 2020, the Group’s facility reverted to a food preparation and distribution service for local people. In total, 2,531 nutritious meals were distributed to families and vulnerable individuals living on the estate over a twelve week period, with the interaction extending to engaging children in online boxing and physical activity sessions as a means to prevent boredom and social isolation.


  • Partnering with Humber, Coast and Vale Partnership to launch ‘prevention first’ mental health workshops for local men in Orchard Park and the wider boxing community. Using the boxing analogy of twelve rounds, over 171 participants took part in weekly circuit style physical activity involving aerobic, weights, pads, and body weight exercises in 2019. Each session had a mental wellbeing theme which was focused on during the rest periods, educating the participants around topics such as resilience, confidence, communication, coping mechanisms, relationships, and problem solving.

Mike Gibbons - Managing Director


"We have a sence of pride in the work we do. We are making a difference to young peoples lives and that gives me a buzz.

From working in the schools with our School partnership work to leading sessions with the community using our facilities it truly is rewarding work that I love"

Robert Beatyman
Director of Sport & Education