Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club in Huddersfield has been helping keep young people out of trouble and away from a life crime for the last two decades.

The club, now based in Milnsbridge, has been in the spotlight this week after the ending of the trial of the killer of Khayri Mclean, a 15-year-old boy stabbed to death outside North Huddersfield Trust School in Fartown last September.

Mark Reynolds, who runs the club, has been fighting the scourge of knife crime for years and believes clubs like his can make a real difference – with the right support.

More and more young people are carrying knives and, it seems, are prepared to use them and Mark said: “I just don’t know where things are heading.

“It’s getting worse and worse in Huddersfield for knife crime and youngsters getting dragged into county lines crime, it’s terrible to see.

“We, as a club, have had a lot of exposure in the last few weeks but no one is listening. You get politicians coming to our club for a nice photo opportunity but then you never hear from them again. I’ve never had a politician fight for funding for us.

“I save Kirklees Council thousands of pounds every month with the work we do with young people. I just get very frustrated when we don’t seem to be moving forward.

“I am a positive guy but it is honestly getting worse from what I’m seeing and we need to turn it around now.”

Mark Reynolds at work in the club. Images by: SEAN DOYLE

The boxing club recently received a private donation of £3,000 from a supporter who wants to remain anonymous.

This donation has come at a crucial time as Mark also revealed the continuing financial difficulties of having to pay rising energy bills to keep the club running.

Mark added: “Parents in our society need educating about the crime that goes on in the community and the impact that has on our young people.

“Getting that donation the other day makes me think that someone out there cares, someone wants to help, someone sees the difference we are making.”

On the club’s financial state, Mark said: “The club is doing the best it can and since the Covid pandemic it has been hard.

“Financially now it is really difficult to keep it running like we want to. At this point last year our bills were £141. This month it has risen to more than £670 with another rise coming in April.

“Now if anyone can tell me how that is sustainable on the fact we get no regular funding other than what we get ourselves then please tell me. We are a club which runs on volunteers’ time and goodwill.”

Boxing clever – the youngsters and coaches at Rawthorpe Boxing Club

Mark added: “We are hosting drop-in sessions every week between 11.45am and 1.30pm and that’s during school term time.

“It’s for those kids who aren’t going to school or for those that are about to be let go and possibly end up in county lines crime to come along and be educated why this isn’t the right path for them to go down.

“We work with hundreds of kids and dozens of schools and go in and teach them about the crime that is going on and why they shouldn’t get involved with it.

“I make hour-long sessions and have said to schools I will go around each class and teach them. However, we can’t do anymore without the funding and people starting to listen to us.

“The police are doing their best and I have had plenty of them say we need to be funded. I’ve had lots of discussions with social workers who say they’ll get back to me but never do.

“The system is not just tired or creaking, it’s fully broken and needs to be fixed because I honestly don’t know where we are heading.

“I have talked with hundreds of parents who have asked for our help. We are here to help but we now need those in charge to sit up and listen to us.”

Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club can be found on Facebook HERE

Scroll through a gallery of images by Huddersfield Hub photographer SEAN DOYLE below