Torvill and Dean back plan for new Nottingham community hub

Photo of Torvill and Dean sat on stage at a launch event
Ice dance champions Torvill and Dean have backed the campaign -Credit:Cartwright Communications

A campaign to build a charity a new facility in Nottingham has been backed by long-time patrons Torvill and Dean. Nottinghamshire-based Marcellus Baz Foundation – which encompasses Switch Up and the Nottingham School of Boxing – announced its plans for a new building which will combine its community services

The launch event for the campaign featured ice dance champions Jayne Torvill, 66, and Christopher Dean, 65, who made their names when they won the gold medal 40 years ago at the Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games. The campaign – named #BuildingPositiveFutures – initially hopes to raise £550,000 to unlock further funding, which will help towards the £4.15m build cost for the proposed new facility.

The foundation’s current rented space is suffering from mould and damp, and recently had a portion of its ceiling collapse, rendering it unfit for purpose. Fundraising was kickstarted on the night by a £100,000 donation from BNA Charitable Incorporated Organisation, and £50,000 from Experian, which organised the launch event hosted by Switch Up patron Darren Fletcher.

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The TNT Sport broadcaster quizzed the duo on their legendary partnership ahead of the 40th anniversary of their gold medal-winning performance of Bolero at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. The pair also spoke at length about their passion for supporting the charity, having been involved as patrons for nearly a decade.

Dean said: “Switch Up has created an environment that is a real family and gives purpose to children and young people who could very easily go off the rails if it wasn’t there. It’s a true community which was initially built around the boxing gym but is now so much more.”

Speaking as the campaign for the new building was announced, Marcellus Baz thanked the patrons for their support, and welcomed pledges from the audience in the room to kickstart the fundraising. Marcellus said: "Switch Up works on a five-pillar system which combines mentoring, education, employability and counselling with physical activity.

“We give people the opportunities and lifelines that they need - we’re the last line stopping people from being imprisoned, committing serious crimes, carrying knives, getting involved in gangs or being radicalised. To do this, we need to have a sanctuary where children and young people can come and feel safe, secure and feel able to engage – we don’t have that at the moment.

"This new building will be that sanctuary, but we can only get there with everyone’s help. We’re asking people to pledge a donation, in-kind support or even just sharing the need and the opportunity with their network.”

Having the new premises and resources will enable the Switch Up team to continue helping Nottingham’s children and young adults to develop and improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing. Having that direction will help the young people to build their self-confidence and pride through achievement.”

To find out more about how to support the campaign, visit the JustGiving page.

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