Meet Moss Side's Junior Boxers - Saving Generations

Updated: May 18, 2020

I am lucky and fortunate enough to be involved with a local boxing gym located in Moss Side, Manchester. I volunteer coaching the junior boxers wherever I can and have had the pleasure of filming with them for my research and development module for University.

Moss Side Fire Station decided to create a safe gym space where they could connect to the kids in the Moss Side/Hulme area who at the time had little respect for the service. Mike Dillon, one of the head coaches and ex fire fighter, dedicated a mission to serving the community they worked in on a daily basis. His vision was pure and his passion to build relationships with the people local to the fire station was a big focus. He strongly believed a boxing gym could benefit the area in many ways whilst also enabling them to reach out to their community and be directly involved in someway. The Fire Service already do incredible amounts for individuals and families however Coach Mike was always thinking one step bigger. The club became established in the area after they turned an old fire engine house into the new gym. Where the club has progressed to since then has been remarkable, seeing some of the greatest fighters in the region. A junior boxer of theirs who came up from the start is now representing Great Britain in his fighting journey and the club continue to volunteer long hours of their days to coaching many more passionate kids, hoping to propel them into successful fighting careers.

Not only does the club support kids who want to become professional fighters, it also supports everyday people who are simply there for their own self progression, to reach fitness goals or gain confidence. Mike and his team of skill full coaches, work with a wide variety of boys and girls who come from all different backgrounds. One thing the club is great for is involving everyone and making everyone feel comfortable.

My aim was to create a short poetic documentary that showcased the passion, dedication and hard work the juniors put in every week to their training. The gym to me is a place that is full of atmosphere and I particularly love the community that surrounds it. The kids are full of energy and consistently push themselves to exceed their limits. I had never been around such a wholesome and tight nit, caring community that was so diverse with ages and cultures.

Through a film I was hoping to portray the gym in it's truest light by working with Mike Dillon, we investigated the purpose of Moss Side Boxing Club and what made the fire service decide to dedicate their time to such a project in the first place.

The juniors were really interested in the camera when I showed up and it was great to see how they reacted. At the start they took time to get used to it, some of the kids loved being in the lime light which was brilliant as they willingly spoke directly to the camera as I asked them loads of questions.

A couple of weeks later I decided to turn up with just my microphone and focus on getting some audio recordings. This was perfect for capturing natural conversations and gym atmosphere sounds in a discrete way which I think was not only beneficial because it was less of a distraction, but the kids also forgot it was there. This meant they were focused more on the training than what I was recording.

The juniors are brilliant in every session, always giving it their best. There is no doubt in my mind that many of them will go on to see great success in the near future. My plan is to continue working with them at the gym and provide them with any media content they need to help promote their work, gain more funding and also build a strong collection of archive footage to keep as documentation of this iconic community club.

I am planning to make a re-edit of the film 'Saving Generations' as many voices from the junior boxers were left out due to a time limit on my university module. In the second edit I am hoping to make the film longer between 10-15 minutes as there are so many kids in the sessions that deserve acknowledgement.

I am hoping to get this film finished in the next few weeks so that they can finally share it and use it for evidence to sustain funding. The film deserves to exist because these people have such an amazing impact on their community and work hard to change people's lives around, guiding people to make better choices and teaching people about discipline, courage and respect. This story is so inspiring and compelling, I knew I wanted to help support this movement in some way and feel that using my camera to document their work would be the best way to spread their message.

I will be grabbing a few more slow motion shots once things begin to return back to normal after Covid-19 as I feel these shots will work perfectly with the tone of the film. I look forward to capturing some empowering portrait shots of the juniors and letting them tell their story.

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