Ukranian integration at Tralee boxing club

In March 2022, moved by the terrible suffering witnessed in the media, we at Tralee Boxing Club,

undertook a number of voluntary initiatives to provide aid and support to people suffering from the

effects of the war in Ukraine.


Our committee immediately agreed to begin fundraising amongst members, and also offered the

proceeds of 2 nights worth of training sessions to the cause. Within a week we were able to make a

cash donation of over €200 to the Red Cross and provided another €200 worth of practical supplies for

the trucks that were leaving for Ukraine almost daily.

The more we got involved the more we believed we could do as a club to help ease the despair of

migrants forced to relocate to our town to escape the terrible effects of the war.


From our own experience as boxers, coaches and volunteers in the club, we have witnessed first hand,

the beneficial changes that a sport like boxing can bring into the lives of people, and we wanted to

extend that opportunity and our hospitality to our new neighbours in their time of great change and




TBC’s outreach to Ukrainian migrants began with free pop up classes run over 2 weekends in May 2022

for residents of the Earl. Attended by over 30 young people and adults, strong links were quickly forged

with the Ukrainian Community through a shared love of boxing.

Residents expressed a desire to continue participation in the sport to help relieve anxiety and loneliness

as well as to make meaningful social connections within their new community.

strong links were quickly forged

with the Ukrainian Community through a shared love of boxing.


In response, TBC offered all classes free of charge to Ukrainian migrants throughout the summer which

saw 10-15 women and children attend weekly classes regularly.

The new members immediately made a positive impact on the club with their excellent work ethic,

friendliness and wonderful attitude. The diversity and enthusiasm of the new crew rejuvenated Tralee

Boxing Club and for that, we will forever be grateful.

A handful of Ukrainian women presented all coaches, that summer, with hand made, personalised T-

shirts in a heart warming display of gratitude. Дякую тобі girls, we will never forget this generous gift.

Дякую тобі girls, we will never forget this generous gift.


Twelve free places were made available over 2 weeks in July, at TBC summer camp, for children from

Ukrainian migrant community, supported by the Communities Integration Fund. Transport to and from

the club, as well as snacks and water were also provided through the fund. Volunteers from the

community came along to assist with translation and organising the kids and were soon equally involved

in all the activities.

This was a transformative experience for trainers and kids alike. Many of the children arrived into our

club clearly traumatised by their experiences and were easily upset and scared especially by loud noise.

Having spent a week of boxing, arts and crafts, obstacle courses, water fights and making friends,

everyone, volunteers and kids, left our gym changed, full of joy, more open and connected.



Word of our growing relationship spread amongst the Ukrainian Community. We connected with former

boxers and coaches who wished to become involved in the club, boxing was definitely a huge part of

Ukrainian culture and newcomers to Tralee seemed drawn to Tralee Boxing Club.

In September 2022, TBC launched its Integration Project, ‘Building Friendship and Strength One Punch

at a Time.’ The programme was funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration

and Youth (DCEDIY) through the Communities Integration Fund and lasted for just over a month.

Over 60 Ukrainian migrants signed up to the programme as coaches and participants. The waiting list for

places was almost half as long as the sign up such was demand amongst the community.

TBC provided gift bags of boxing essentials, registration, free weekly integrated training sessions, and

transport to the club where necessary, for the month to all participants.

In addition to this a number of young Ukrainian boxers received free medicals, IABA boxing books

allowing them to compete in Ireland, TBC training gear, and competition entry fees as part of the

Integration Project. They proudly competed alongside their Irish team mates under the Tralee Boxing

Club banner.



Thankfully many of our new Ukrainian members are settling into Irish life and culture, finding jobs,

completing courses, moving into new homes and schools. Integration, friendship, finding work and

making social connections have been helped along by their experiences at the club. There is much less

anxiety and loneliness evident in our members who chose the sport of boxing to build resilience.

Many are now content to visit once a week, and tell us, in much improved English, and with a lot more

confidence how they are finding their feet in the community. Ukrainian members regularly attend club

fundraisers as volunteers holding collection buckets, baking treats for coffee mornings, helping to clean

the gym, keen to be an active part of a community that considers them valuable, equal and needed.

We receive interest almost on a daily basis at Tralee Boxing Club from newly arrived Ukrainian migrants

who have heard that TBC is a welcoming space for their community. We will continue to hold this space

for anyone who is drawn to boxing and seeks a place to belong, despite our limited personnel and

financial resources.

Community is at the heart of everything we do in Tralee Boxing Club and everyone is welcome in this

boxing community.

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