The chairman of a boxing club trying to get kids out of crime has said his work “cannot go on” without vital cash he claims he is owed by a church.

Barry Sandford, 52, runs St Andrews Boxing Club, which was kicked out of St Andrews Church in Bellingham due to “safeguarding issues” three months ago. The club claims these issues were not brought to staff before the decision was made.

After 15-year-old Jay Hughes was stabbed to death in Bellingham last year, Mr Sandford urged teenagers in Catford to come down to his gym in a bid to get them off the streets.

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.”

READ MORE: Boxing club helping kids out of crime vows to keep running after it was 'kicked out' of church

And according to Mr Sandford, the scheme was making progress.

“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 described.

The team vowed to continue running the club after it became homeless, fixing up an abandoned building in Bell Green to carry on its work.

However, the club chairman who also runs a roofing business told News Shopper the project is simply not possible until a dispute over £5,500 paid to St Andrews Church for rent has been returned.

According to Mr Sandford, the rent payment was made before the club was forced to leave the Bellingham church – and the club desperately needs the cash back.

News Shopper:

The new club building needs a lot of work

“We can’t go any further without that money. We’ve had to pay out so much already.

“I have to pay my boys too. I can’t keep this up or my business will go under,” he said.

He claims he was originally promised a decision on the return of the cash by the end of July, but has now been told he may have to wait until September for an answer.

Since moving to the Bell Green site, Mr Sandford and his team, including son-in-law Dean Taylor, have been working around the clock to make the building fit for purpose.

“Now we’ve been reduced to here. Look what I’m up against now,” Mr Sandford said while gesturing towards the dilapidated building.

The Diocese of Southwark did not respond to a request for comment from News Shopper.