From left, Darren Green, Brian Lucas and Steve Conroy, with club members behind. Picture by Peter Boam.
A CONSORTIUM of businessmen are fighting the corner of an Isle of Wight boxing club under threat of closure.
Ventnor Boxing Club has been told it needs to find £85,000 to buy its home, Ventnor Methodist Church, by the end of this month, or face closure.
But a former Ventnor mayor, Cllr Brian Lucas, has helped to bring the club a step closer to being saved by bringing together finance from a group of local businessmen.
Despite the town councillors’ efforts to broker the rescue plan, there remains a shortfall of £20,000, which is needed to buy the building for a concessionary figure from the Isle of Wight Circuit of the Methodist Church, and lease it back to the club for a peppercorn rent.
"We are desperately seeking investors — not just in the building but in the Ventnor community, of which the club is a part," said Cllr Lucas.
"The consortium is not looking for instant profit. The building needs much improvement, so we want a pool of money to waterproof the shell of it and leave the internal refurbishment to the club.
"I see it as a ten-year plan. The building has a lot of potential for community use but if the club was to close, the church would be sold."
Ventnor Town Council has agreed to fund the estimated £5,000 needed to cover a structural engineer’s survey and legal costs, should the consortium make the purchase.
Assistant boxing coach Steve Conroy said: "The response from the community has been amazing.
"The church has been supportive and gave us an extension to the end of the month but this consortium is our only hope of survival. Without it, we’ll be out on the street and see seven years’ work go down the pan."