SCRAPPERS Gym has won a whopping £23,000 grant to be put towards much-needed improvements.

The Hillmead gym put themselves forward for an Aviva Community Fund grant at the end of last year and in order to be shortlisted they needed to secure public votes.

An overwhelming 8,100 people voted for the gym to make the final eight and after wowing judges, this week the club was informed they had been successful in the Inclusivity Category of the competition.

The funds will help pay for a part-time boxing club manager, enabling the gym to be open during the day.

This in turn would allow Scrappers to build stronger links with external partners local authorities, county sports partnerships, schools and England Boxing to enable them to support more people.

The money will also be spent on installing disabled showers and toilets.

CEO of Scrappers Olivia McCann was delighted to receive the news this week.

“By appointing someone to run the gym will enable us to increase the hours we are open and we will be able to run more sessions by working with other groups and organisations,” she explained.

“In our category there were 274 groups nationally but we managed to get 8,152 votes from the local community and that put us at the top of our category before making the final eight.

“I think it was helped by the fact that the project is already up and running since 2011 and they wanted to invest in a project that could continue once the funding has to be used by.

“The amount of votes we had showed Swindon’s community spirit and we can use the money straight away to pay for this manage to help us develop the project into the future.”

Around 25 local charities entered the Aviva Community Fund competition but Scrappers was the only Swindon-based organisation to win funding.

Olivia added: “The money is going to make such a difference not just to the project but for the people who use it as well. Since we put out the message on Facebook, I’ve had so many lovely comments from people congratulating and thanking us.

“It is an enormous boost because the gym is run by volunteers and people who just want to donate their time to helping others. It isn’t a commercial gym, it is a community one.

“Without the Swindon community behind us we wouldn’t have been able to do it. It wasn’t easy to vote and it was quite a long-winded process but to get that many votes shows the community spirit and support we have.

“For Swindon being a small town in comparison to other areas like Bristol, this is a massive achievement and I am so grateful for everyone who voted.”