Community sports club development in Creswell

The self-styled Creswell Vixens is a Box Fit group which has been developed by the local community, facilitated by shift community builder Nathan. It’s now largely owned by the people who attend and the laughter and chatter among the group shows a love for what they’re involved in.

Here’s how it all came together….

Listening and engaging with the community

When Nathan started having conversations with people in Creswell, it was clear the closure of the local leisure centre had left a big hole in the area. For a lot of people, travelling further wasn’t an option. Something new in the centre of the community was needed, and most importantly, wanted.

With a number of people interested in a boxing themed class, Nathan supported them to develop initial taster sessions. After these proved popular it was time for people to take over the reins and decide how to make the group sustainable as a permanent fixture in the village.

Coming together as a group

They made decisions on every aspect of the group – from a name and logo to what day and time it would take place and how much it would cost.

On chatting to the group it’s clear this has happened in a really natural way. They’re modest about roles like collecting money, designing posters or distributing them around the village yet these seemingly small individual contributions are what ultimately keeps the group going.

Gemma explains why this input has made it so great for her. She said: “I really love it. It’s so convenient as it’s in walking distance. I used to go to the leisure centre but that shut down and as I don’t have a car it’s difficult to get anywhere else. I have a son at school so it has to be in school hours for me to be able to go.

“I like that it’s tough and it pushes you but the most important part for me is the social aspect. It’s such a great atmosphere and the banter within the group is great.”

Their relationship with the coach is also hugely important to them.

Helen said: “Chris [the coach] is professional but he gets really involved. Each session is different depending on who’s here. For example there’s a lady with hypermobility and Chris adapts certain moves for her. If you’re struggling with parts you can take a break and nobody minds. Equally if you want to push yourself a bit more then you can do that too.”

How this makes a difference

This has led to a strong network of individuals who all feel part of something fun, social and active. Their collective decisions continue to shape and develop the group.

In the weeks running up to the summer holidays the number of people attending had reduced. With a minimum of 10 needed to ensure enough income to pay for the room and the coach the group rallied together to promote the class further. A new poster was designed by Helen and lots of members of the group shared it across Facebook and offered to put them up around Creswell and beyond. It’s had its desired effect with a number of new people recently joining.

They also chat via a Facebook group, where people can let everyone know if they’re not able to make it. Originally a private group, they collectively decided to make it public and this has also helped in promoting the class, giving new members an outlet to introduce themselves and ask questions.

Nathan continues to support the group where needed, whilst gradually reducing his involvement. This level of responsibility doesn’t come without it’s challenges for the group.

Helen said: “It’s a lot of responsibility to make sure you get enough people attending to be able to pay the coach and the room fee. We recently made a group decision to increase the price slightly so we need less people per session. That’s the only thing which makes us nervous about taking over from Nathan completely.”

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