The three people behind the development of Waterfront were Michael Lewis (then chair), Michael Burgess (then centre manager) and Mahesh Patel (treasurer). In 2003 they formed their first five-year plan, all were in agreement that close ties with the local community would be key to the club’s survival.
Between them, the trio knew that they had a good enough skill-set to develop a strong programme of activities. They all had experience in youth work and boxing coaching. They were also confident that they could recruit other people from the local community who could teach or coach other activities that would be of interest to local people.
Waterfront’s Inspired Facilities grant from us was to make repairs and improvements to a building which they felt would, in the state it was then in, put off new audiences they were hoping to attract to the club. The critical moment for them was the 2012 Olympics; they saw a surge in interest and enthusiasm from local girls and young women who had been inspired by women’s performances at the games:
“The Olympics was huge, absolutely massive. Until that point it was difficult getting girls in to the centre. It was the boxing and the Taekwondo particularly that meant we had up to 50 girls and young women wanting to attend sessions. We needed to start changing the facility, better showers, better toilets,” said Michael Lewis.
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