Boxing is, of course, in Sheffield’s DNA. From the Bomber to Brook, it has produced its fair share of gloved-up heroes. But the real heroes are operating out of a former school which was in serious danger of falling into dereliction. Then again, so were some of the people who have all lined up to credit De Hood with turning their lives around.
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Reagan Denton is a man with a colourful back story. A British boxing contender in Frank, now Jane, Maloney’s stable, he ended up swapping the ring for a spell in jail. When he got back to his old stomping ground older and wiser he saw kids from his estate up to no good. “Let’s go for a bacon butty run,” he said. And so De Hood was born.
The club uses fitness, sport, healthy living and boxing to engage young people, who’ve often made poor choices which have led to their offending behaviour.
It also supports people with issues ranging from low confidence, self-esteem, obesity and diabetes to mental or physical health conditions or disabilities. It now has hundreds of members from across the city. The club relies on an army of dedicated volunteers and receives no funding from any source in its mission to change lives and transform communities.
The club became a registered charity in 2019 with a board of professional trustees supporting Reagan Denton and is currently negotiating with Sheffield City Council and a private developer to lease the school and eventually own the building as a community asset to provide a long-term future for the club.
Team work makes the dream work and so we hear on Podcast Nine not only from Reagan but some of the people who have been inspired and are inspiring others at De Hood. We meet a 65-year-old national bodybuilding champion, a soldier and a teenager who has beaten the bin-chucking bullies.
Sadly, the gym is closed at the moment (November 2020) due to lockdown, but hopefully people can hear the passion coming through on this pod – and will inspire them in difficult times.
We also speak to Rise and Steel City Striders about how they are coping with the lockdown, running sessions online and virtual time trials.
Jen set up Rise Yoga Studio in a former shipping container in Kelham five years ago. Nic Allen says Namaste and Now Zen, after her workout of course. And yes, of course we can all do this move.
And Andy Davies talks us through the Autumn Eight time trial series. Giving athletes the motivation to not only get out, but challenge their fitness in some of Sheffield’s beautiful parks and on its rather lovely trails too.
All this, and the 1 O’ Clock Time Signal, bacon butties, unfathomable poses and beautiful voices. Looking Up Sheffield may be in lockdown, but there’s no community without unity. Keep the dream alive.