An amateur boxing club’s coaches fear they will be left homeless after vandals broke into their gym and trashed it.
O’Neil’s ABC of Cambuslang temporarily moved training to St Bride’s Primary School while South Lanarkshire Council carried out repair work on water damage to the roof at the club’s Westburn community centre home.
But in another blow to O’Neil’s, footage emerged on social media last week of the gym equipment being destroyed after a break-in at the centre.
Coach Andy Clayton says they are still to see the full extent of the damage, because the Westburn halls remain out of operation because of lockdown. However, he fears that the rising cost of repairs will lead to the council mothballing work and forcing O’Neil’s away for good.
“We are still waiting to see the extent of the damage and this has been very frustrating for us,” Andy said.
“It’s a council premises and the doors are obviously locked, so we need to wait to see the what has happened to the equipment or if anything has been taken.
“Before the lockdown, we moved out of the hall to St Bride’s because the roof at the centre was needing work.
“Then the lockdown has just set everything back. It’s still not been fixed.
“Now with the damage, the worry is that the gym just gets left now if there is too much repair work to be done.
“We were hoping that the gym would be all done by the time lockdown was finished but this will have set us back for sure.
“The council has been great with us but who is to say that, if there is a lot of damage, they won’t just scrap the whole plan?
“It leaves us homeless now. Hopefully once the damage is assessed we will be able to get back into the centre.
“We just worry now South Lanarkshire Council will pull the plug on the whole thing.”
Andy did not wish to aim too much criticism at the youngsters who broke into the gym.
“I think they were just kids that were bored,” he added.
“At this point, I don’t see that as the biggest issue. The police are involved and I’m sure that it will take its course.”
Daniel Lowe, executive director of housing and technical resources at South Lanarkshire Council, moved to reassure the club.
He said: “Westburn Hall was closed in February due to health and safety concerns and the boxing club was relocated.
“This was to allow for a structural survey to be undertaken and the options for essential repairs to the roof and rot work to be investigated.
“Unfortunately the structural survey and assessment of repairs needed has been delayed due to Covid restrictions. These have now been rescheduled.
“Following the break-in, the property has been made secure and arrangements are being made for the boxing club to have access to the hall next week to collect their moveable equipment.
“We appreciate that the boxing club activity is restricted by the inability to access their full ring and will engage with the club to find suitable alternative temporary accommodation during the period of the hall closure.”
A police spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a break-in to a community hall on Northbank Avenue, Cambuslang around 12pm Saturday 11 July, 2020.
Enquiries are currently ongoing.”