Keiran Stockwell has no issue with borrowing the immortal line “if you build it, they will come” from 1980s baseball film Field of Dreams in relation to his project, Govan Community Boxing Club in Glasgow.
“It’s got to be a community project,” he stresses. “It’s grassroots and we’re at the stage where we’re trying to get as many people involved as possible.”
As yet, the club is in its infancy, but Keiran unflinchingly believes in the project and won’t be dissuaded – much like Kevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, who dreams of building a baseball diamond in his Iowa cornfield.
Thankfully, and unlike Kinsella, people don’t think Keiran’s crazy. He’s already had interest from Boxing Scotland and has a meeting set with the local council.
The club will focus on the long-standing issue of young people having nowhere to go and nothing to do at evenings and weekends. Couple this with increasing childhood obesity and it’s easy to see why a boxing club might be an ideal solution for Govan and elsewhere.
Keiran said: “I’ve been in Govan for several years. Talking to people I began to realise that there isn’t much for young people to do in the area. I’m from a football training background myself and I felt that kids needed a base here, somewhere they could come and train. Not all kids like to play football, so this would be more like a community hub where kids could come and get fit.”
He wants to ensure that youngsters in his area get to learn to disciplines associated with fitness, such as warming up and cooling down, following a routine, teamwork, and eating the right food. The project also includes those in the older age bracket, who Keiran would like to gain professional qualifications in order to train younger members at the club.
While Govan Community Boxing Club is open to all ages and genders, it’s main focus at the moment is in acquiring established premises. Keiran is confident that if he can achieve this, he can make it a non-male dominated environment, an inclusive club for everyone in Govan.
He said: “I don’t want people to think ‘this is not for us’. I want women involved with the club, I want the whole community to be involved. From what I’ve seen through my experience with boxing, it can change people’s lives.”
Keiran is constantly looking toward the future. Much of this is down to him being diagnosed with prostate cancer in early 2014. Thankfully it was spotted early and the subsequent surgery saved his life. What it left him with, however, was a desire to do something meaningful in his community.
Asked how important a factor his recovery was, he says: “I have had much time to reflect and set myself goals. Yes, certainly dealing with cancer has made me stronger and more determined. It has influenced me because I was diagnosed early and want to give something back.
“The ultimate aim is to get the club charity status so that any money we raise can go straight back into the club. Having cancer really gave me focus and I want to do something for other people within my community.
“My dream is to work with other clubs and charities to help raise money for our club and other social issues, such as cancer. We’ve been talking about this club for so long that it’s time for the final push.”