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POW! Boxing Clever!

Teaching boxing coaches how to raise awareness about literacy skills.

Group Photo

“‘I got great confidence just being with the lads every week. We never got to do that before. Everyone was just coming and going before that. We got to hear about each other more. I’d never have had the confidence to travel out of the country and do a corner before this. I can’t believe the change it made in a few short weeks.” Quote from participant

This project trained boxing coaches on how to become literacy activists and allies. Over the course of 11 weeks, participants developed the knowledge, skills, and competence needed to raise awareness about the importance of literacy and to help improve their client’s speaking, listening, reading, writing, numeracy, and technology skills. Coaches were encouraged to find opportunities to read, write, and work with numbers more in their communities, and to create literacy-rich and literacy-friendly environments in their clubs. 

Sessions took place in Portlaoise Boxing club every Monday evening from 6:00pm-9:00pm between early September and early December 2023. One session took place in the newly built Portlaoise Library. Fifteen participants undertook 33 hours training in literacy and lifelong learning allyship. Each session focused on literacy development in the context of courage and care, agility and flexibility, strength and endurance, power and confidence, and joy and celebration. 

Participants worked with facilitators to plan and develop a website for the club, which will become a resource for boxers served by Portlaoise boxing club and boxers further afield. This website is being finalised and will go live in 2024.  

This is the first time that a locally based arts-focused organisation and a boxing club collaborated in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and digital skills. Coaches emerged from the programme with a better awareness of lifelong learning opportunities for adults and young people in the local area, and are now committed to maintaining the project’s mission of spreading literacy awareness throughout the community. 

Portlaoise Library

"This felt like group therapy at the start, I wasn’t too sure to be honest but I get it now. This kind of thing is important and I’d have no problem saying it to anyone to look after your learning.” Quote from participant

This project was the result of a collaboration between Power of Words Festival, Portlaoise Boxing Club, and LOETB.  

For more information, please contact Tamara Latham, Laois and Offaly Regional Literacy Coordinator at  

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