The boxing club helping country kids thrive
ORDINARILY, the sound of little fists pounding into objects is enough to make any parent's blood curdle with worry, but in the little country town of Eidsvold, it's the sound of kids staying out of trouble.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, there can be anywhere up to 25 youngsters at Eidsvold Boxing Club, undertaking fitness sessions, practising their routines and going toe-to-toe with one of two trainers, Preston Parter and Aaron Bernard, the principal and HPE teacher of Eidsvold State School, respectively.
A senior session is held after the juniors, with around 10 regulars.
Club treasurer Noel Thompson, formerly the club secretary, has been involved with the club for around five years, although he's never stepped into the ring in his life.
He said he does it for the future of all the local kids.
"Boxing gives them an opportunity that they've never had before, somewhere they belong in an area that offers them very little,” Mr Thompson said.
He said that "feeling of belonging” goes a long way to supporting mental well-being.
"It gives them something they can own, they can say, 'I am a member of a club and I am proud of what I am.'
"They can be a sportsman, a boxer.
"Because there's no football club they can join.
"They don't play touch football in Apex Park any more.”
Mr Thompson said the recreational shed, which houses a gym as well as the boxing club, is a "fantastic” facility for Eidsvold.
It was constructed at the start of 2018 with funding from a Works for Queensland grant, and replaced a previous SES shed on the site which was nearing the end of its useful life.
Despite its near-dereliction, it was all the boxing club had, before the new shed was constructed.
"The facilities just weren't there,” Mr Thompson said.
At the end of the session, a dozen sweaty kids stream out of the shed into the golden hour of late afternoon, many of them walking home to their families.
"Where was Malachi today?” Parter asked one of the young children, William Murray, as he was leaving.
"He's at home playing Minecraft (a popular video game),” Murray responded.
"See? That's we have to compete with: Minecraft,” Mr Thompson said.