A BOXING coach in Rainhill is fighting to save a disused local youth club which has been left to fall into disrepair.

The building on the corner of Old Lane and Warrington Road, which was once used for community activities, has now become the target of vandals.

But George Cairns from Moorway, Rainhill, who is a coach at the Highside Boxing Club, says the building could be put to good use within the local community.

The club, which has not been used for nearly two years, was built on land given to the parish council with money donated by residents, who gave on the understanding a youth club would be built.

After being used for a long time by community groups, the centre was shut down because the parish council could not afford the upkeep. Since its closure, the building has been vandalised on a number of occasions.

George has suggested groups such as his own boxing club, which currently trains at Prescot Leisure Centre, would benefit from the facilities there. He said: "I am sure that we could attract many more young people if we had bigger facilities. We are a self-funded club so we wouldn't even need any money from the council to run the club. I'm sure that the centre could also be used for a lot of other activities which would keep youngsters off the streets."

He has spoken to local councillor Mike Doyle, who said in response: "The club closed down because the demand for it isn't as high as it used to be and it can't be run on an ad hoc basis.

"Mr Cairns' boxing club has been based at the Prescot Leisure Centre for many years, which falls under the Knowsley region, so I cannot understand why he wants to move to Rainhill.

"I am not in a position to simply hand over the building to a single owner and I feel that a number of groups should be able to benefit from the use of this facility.

We have been carrying out a comprehensive report in conjunction with the St Helens Youth Service in order to determine what young people in the area really want.

"I would also like to stress though that it is not a forgotten building and something will be done about it, but I will have to wait until I have read the details of this report to see what can be done. Until then Mr Cairns will have to be a little more patient."