“Watch your step,” says Barry Sandford as he navigates through rubble and weeds towards the site of his new boxing gym.

The site at Bell Green needs hours of work to make it safe for St Andrew’s Boxing Club to move in.

The club, which had been working with kids to reduce knife crime, recently found itself homeless after it was kicked out of St Andrew’s Church in Catford because of “safeguarding issues.”

Last year Mr Sandford, 52, urged Catford kids to come down to the gym after 15-year-old Jay Hughes was stabbed to death in Bellingham.

READ MORE: Bellingham murder: Teenagers join Catford boxing club after plea

Speaking to News Shopper after the murder, he said: "If they don’t have money, don’t worry, they are more than welcome. Just please come along.”

Mr Sandford lights up when he recalls how many kids and young adults piled through the door to attend boxing sessions after his invitation.

“We were getting more than 60 people in there. The amount of boys who came to that gym with bad attitudes – but by the time the coaches had finished with them they’d go out with their tail between their legs,” he says.

Gesturing towards the dilapidated building behind him, he adds: “Now we’ve been reduced to here. Look what I’m up against now.”

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The new site needs a huge amount of work.

Reds Wasolua, one of the coaches, described his dismay at the treatment the club has received.

“How can a church kick out all these young kids without notice? That was the most ruthless part.

“A church is where you’re meant to take people in. We had 60 kids coming in and there was no plan for what happened afterwards. They just closed it.”

The club even held a knife amnesty at the church where youngsters could safely drop off their knives in a bin with no questions asked.

“We had about four knives dropped in there,” Mr Sandford recalls. “To me, that’s four knives off the streets.”

Despite the club being homeless for 10 weeks, Mr Sandford and his team are working hard on the new site to be able to bring kids back in as soon as possible - with his son-in-law, Dean Taylor, even taking half wages to get the job done.

“It doesn’t matter what colour you are – there’s so much knife crime out there.”

“It’s just so sad to see young kids on the wayside because I know every kid has a talent and has a value.

"I want to give back to the kids because they have that aura about them that no one else believes in them. But I believe in them.”

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He recalls speaking to the mum of one young boy who was so depressed he had threatened to commit suicide.

“He eventually confided in me. I told him to call me whenever he needed me and now he’s doing great.”

Mr Sandford estimates about 60 per cent of the young people using St Andrew’s suffer from some type of mental health problem. And although the club is no longer in its old home, he wants those youngsters to keep engaging with them.

“We’re still here; we’re still St Andrew’s Boxing Club.”

The club is currently looking for kit and glove sponsors while it prepares to move into its new home.

A statement from the Diocese of Southwark said: “The Diocese of Southwark and St Andrew, Catford, take the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults very seriously.

“When any church lets its premises for an activity it has to be assured that the organisation concerned has proper safeguarding policies in place and that they work to them.

“Despite repeated requests the parish was not able to get sight of the policy from St Andrew’s Boxing Club and as a result it is no longer able to rent space to them for the club. (This is unfortunate as the club is seeking to do excellent work in the area.)

The club has asked for a refund of the rent which it has pre-paid and the Church is working with them on this matter and will discuss it at their next PCC meeting.”