Ipswich Judo Club seeks funds for new equipment

Ipswich Judo Club offers classes to members as young as five years old, all the way up to those over 65.

Ipswich Judo Club offers classes to members as young as five years old, all the way up to those over 65. - Credit: Ipswich Judo Club

A judo club in Ipswich which has been running for over 50 years is seeking funding for essential equipment. 

Ipswich Judo Club has been a thriving part of the community since it was formed in 1957. Now, operating out of Northgate Sports Centre, it is run entirely by volunteers and offers sessions to enthusiasts from five to those aged over 65.  

It is now trying to secure essential funding to replace their mats as their numbers return to pre-Covid levels.

“Our biggest class is the juniors on Monday evenings, and last week we had about 24,” explains club chairman and coach Andrew Topliss.

“That’s a bit of a squeeze on the 10 by 10 mat area. So, we’re comfortable, but we’re growing and I’m getting lots of inquiries. To sustain that, we need to be in the position where we’ve got enough mats.” 

Judo is fantastic for young people’s mental health and well-being, he said.

“That’s one of the things that keeps me running as a coach. You think, OK, judo is a form of exercise and it is good fitness training. But actually, we’ll get a five or six-year-old walk through the door looking very timid and terrified, and judo will really build their self-confidence and their self-esteem. It's great to see kids develop and grow like that. 

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“What I'd like to do now is go back to what we used to do and run some targeted taster sessions and some beginner events 

“We ran an event for the This Girl Can campaign before Covid, and we had a load of ladies come down and run alongside our senior session. It was great fun, and they really enjoyed it.” 

‘This Girl Can’ is an initiative to encourage sporting endeavours in young women. 

"We’d like to run a few more things like that, but that does mean we need enough mats to fill the hall,” says Andrew. They estimate that 30 new mats will cost around £4,300. 

The club hopes to secure funding from Ipswich Borough Council, enabling them to continue to serve the community for generations to come.