A MENTAL health charity has been given a welcome boost thanks to the efforts of two boxing promoters.
After months of fundraising, Neilson Boxing – led by brothers Mark and Tony Neilson – presented a cheque for £1,305.75 to Phoenix Enterprises.
The Groundwell-based charity is a mailing and packaging social enterprise staffed almost entirely by men and women in need of renewed confidence and structure in their lives due to challenges with their mental health.
The Phoenix team has helped to turn around the lives of dozens of people who have come through its doors, but often the toughest challenge is knowing they will have enough money to keep making a difference where it counts.
Now, thanks to the efforts of the team at Neilson Boxing, some of that weight has been lifted.
What’s more, the brothers have pledged to continue their support by naming Phoenix Enterprises as their chosen charity for 2018.
Mike Bowden, Phoenix trustee, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that we’ve been told that we are to be Neilson Boxing’s charity of choice for 2018.
“Phoenix provides a vital service for people that would simply fall through the cracks but for our charity and it’s not easy to keep the finances in the black.
“It’s only due to to the very generous contributions from people and organisations, like Neilson Boxing, that we are able to continue to do what we do.
“Mental health conditions don’t miss out any section of the community. The boxing world knows, as well as any other group, that it can strike the most unlikely of people. There are boxers, from world champions down to people that we may never have heard of, whose lives have been blighted by a mental health condition.
“Anything that can be done to improve the lives of people going through those challenges is worth doing.”
The Neilson brothers said that while raising money for charity had always been part of their ethos, the work of Phoenix had struck a particular chord.
“We’ve been putting on boxing shows for over a decade and with the growing popularity of the sport, the events have become bigger and more frequent,” said Mark.
“Over the years, as a family, we’ve raised just under £50,000 for charity through various events and we’ve always tried to have a nominated, local cause.
“But this is the first time that we’ve decided to move forward for the second year in a row with the same charity.
“It’s definitely a cause close to our hearts – we know people close to us who have struggled with mental illness. In boxing, it’s becoming something that people are now starting to talk about a lot more.
“We’ve got to know the team here at Phoenix quite well, including some of the service users. This is just a small amount compared with what they need to keep the lights turned on every day, but we want to do what we can to support them in any way we can.
“Hopefully by us partnering we can also increase awareness of the charity and the great work they are doing here.”