National Lottery Funding For 5UP CIC


5UP CIC has just recently won a National Lottery funding of £10k for a 1-month pilot project to get the “over 40’s” in to a fitness and healthy life style programme. This is for men and woman ONLY classes for those aged 40 years plus. This pilot project could potentially lead to a £100k National Lottery award to continue this on for a whole year.

5UP CIC formed in Jan 2020 and was setup by Nathan Bendon and Major Heran.

They won funding in February from The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner – Violence Reduction Unit.  This was for positive sport-based activities and mentoring and personal development for 8 – 18 years old during the Feb Half Term school holidays.

Nathan never came from a privileged background, his life started out on a council estate in Birmingham with a single mother and three other younger siblings. Is early life was doomed to end in disaster, he had a few run ins with the police. Then things all changed when he went to the local secondary high school and joined a local Thai Boxing gym. He took to Thai Boxing with gusto with the help of the Head Sports Coach who had a degree in sports science and guided Nathan’s path to glory.

Nathan ended up becoming 3 times British Junior Champion and one of the best young fighters in Europe at the time. Leaving school with GCSE’s from A to C grades, this was because the Head Coach encouraged Nathan to study at school and it was not all about fighting it was about education too.

Leaving school Nathan worked in a Thai Boxing gym teaching and mentoring others. He was also an active professional fighter becoming 2 times UK and British Champion, European Champion at his weight division.

Currently Nathan owns and runs NJB Thai Boxing and Fitness Club in Handsworth, Birmingham. The reasoning behind him opening his own gym was to pass on his own journey and knowledge to others and give others the benefits he had when he was mentored by a coach. Nathan commented “I want others to come to a safe place at my gym and express themselves and become responsible for their own lives and not become embroiled in a life of crime and trouble”.

So, with the help of one of his gym members Major Heran, 5UP CIC was formed in Jan 2020. The activities of 5UP are available for all members of the public to access but with a focus on children and young people from all ethnicities from disadvantaged backgrounds that may be at risk from gang involvement and knife crime, and children and young people with additional needs.

5UP will benefit and work with schools, colleges, further education, and social services through our work with children and young people who are not in mainstream education.

The company will benefit those living in inner-city Birmingham as well as the wider West Midlands.

5UP will provide a Thai Boxing and physical fitness gym for all members of the community. Through these services, we will also engage children and young people and offer additional support including mentoring and coaching and relationship building, providing support and advice through appropriate role models and mentors.

Physical exercise through self-defence training and classes, gym service. Giving the members of the of our community an opportunity to improve their wellbeing through physical exercise and learn a form of self-defence with highly experienced Thai boxing coaches.

In addition, employment support, job search support, writing CV’s and supporting young people into employment locally.

5UP will invest in the community to be able to facilitate the positive development of more disadvantaged members of our community.The pilot project has been championed by the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce President Qasim Majid, whose son Zak attends Nathan’s Gym, who said:

“In these very challenging times, it’s wonderful to see that ABCC members, Nathan and Major are forging ahead with their plans and vision to provide a fitness programme free of charge to the people of Birmingham. I know how passionate they are in ensuring they provide a holistic and enjoyable environment to keep people fit. More so than ever now, we need initiatives like this, which not only helps with keeping fit physically, but tackles mental well-being too”.


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