Debt-free Angel boxing club no longer in a red corner
Relief after £250k repair bill for dilapidated state of building where training sessions take place sparked closure fears
05 April, 2019 — By Emily Finch
Steve Miller and Bulent Mustafa
OWNERS of an Angel boxing club which helps keep hundreds of youngsters off the streets have spoken of their “relief” after hearing they no longer owe their landlords a quarter of a million pounds.
Angel Amateur Boxing Club, in Owen’s Row, hold regular training sessions for youngsters at the building leased to them by City and Islington College.
For the past year Angela Low, who took over as owner 18 months ago, was worried she would have to close down the club after receiving a £250,000 bill from solicitors representing the college because of the “dilapidated” state of the building.
After queries from the Tribune, a spokesman for the college’s owners, the Capital City College Group, confirmed that the club would not have to foot the repair bill.
Ms Low said: “We are so relieved, it has taken the weight off of our shoulders, we can hopefully go forward when we get this in writing, and continue to help the kids.”
However, the college said the club will not have their lease renewed at the end of 2022 and would have to find a new home.
Coach Stan Hanson and Ashleigh, 8
Steve Miller, 57, who previously boxed for England and first joined the club 40 years ago and is now a trustee, also spoke of his “relief” but added he was “certain” the club had a 99-year lease agreement.
He said: “It feels like they’re trying to get rid of us. We had a 99-year lease and now it’s four years. I don’t understand. We need solicitors to help us but we can’t afford them.”
He added: “We keep kids off the streets. That’s what I am trying to do. We have boys who have been in gangs, children with disabilities and ADHD who gain confidence after coming here. We work purely on donations.”
Parents raised £500 during a fundraising event on Tuesday night which saw their children spar with their boxing coach Stan Hanson.
Bulent Mustafa, 20, said without the club he would “most likely have been dead, in prison or doing something I shouldn’t have been doing”.
Mr Mustafa, who volunteers at the club, said: “I used to carry knives. I was always with the wrong crowd, being with bad boys. The club sorted me out. It’s always going to be in my heart, boxing.”
The Capital City College Group spokesman said they would be happy to help the club find a new home, but he added: “The club’s lease document dated December 2, 2002, shows that the lease was to run for 20 years until 2022. While, regrettably, the college do not intend to renew the lease after this time, this does give the club three-and-a-half years to find a new home.
“We can also confirm that it’s the college that will foot the repair bill for the building, but we are concerned that the building will fall further into disrepair between now and the end of the club’s lease, so we want to work with the club to find a way to ensure that the building doesn’t deteriorate further.”