IslingtonTribune

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Toughest fight yet for Holloway karate kids battling to keep base

The Ringcross academy has produced national and international champions at various levels

12 December, 2016 — By Koos Couvée

Karate black belt Raphael Veras with academy members and their parents. ‘We have more than 19 national medalists,’ he said

KARATE kids in Holloway are in their “toughest fight yet” as the future of their training centre hangs in the balance.

Children who train at The Veras Academy, which has held karate classes four days a week at the Ringcross Community Centre since 2009, showed fighting spirit this week as they faced the possibility of having to move.

The centre on the Ringcross estate – formerly owned by Islington Council – is facing an uncertain future after Hyde Housing launched a consultation aimed at finding new organisations to run it.

Karate black belt Raphael Veras, who runs the academy, said: “We have more than 19 national medalists at the club, and one of the kids could represent Team GB in the future.

“But this is our toughest fight yet. It’s not just involving me or the kids, it’s all different groups who use the centre.

“Hyde needs to make sure they keep the place. Do they want to knock it down and build apartments? That’s going to be very bad for the community.”

The Ringcross academy has produced national and international champions at various levels. It has more than 250 students on its books.

The housing association has said the annual cost of running the Ringcross Centre is £106,500, while it brings in just £12,000.

But Lina Parker, of Friends of the Ringcross, said the centre could be run at far lower cost.

“This seems to be more a corporate strategy and not about whether there’s demand for the centre,” she said.

“We are hoping to work with Hyde if they’re willing to work with us to make sure it stays in community hands.”

A Hyde spokesman said: “We are recommending that the building is leased to a group or organisation who will deliver services that benefit the community.

“We would urge those with an interest to contact us at communitycentresreview@hyde-housing.co.uk.”

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