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PCC funded project packing a punch to set youngsters on the right track


Young people from Bedminster Down School in Bristol have been gaining new skills at a boxing club, thanks to funding from Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens’ Community Action Fund.

School Beat Manager, PC Kris Withers heard about a local gym which was offering boxing classes to help stop students from going down the wrong path, and successfully secured funding from the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund in the spring.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “Initiatives like this are really important in bringing our communities together, building positive relationships and inspiring our young people.  I have visited the boxing club and have been able to see first-hand the difference they are making to young people’s lives. I feel it is incredibly important that we take the time to encourage and recognise the enthusiasm and drive of the young people in our communities, many whom have overcome challenges and adversity.” 

PC Withers said: “Some kids do struggle in school, whether it’s with poor attendance, bad behaviour or their general attitude. Sometimes, if these things aren’t addressed, students can be in danger of drifting into a life of unemployment or even crime.

“The boxing classes provide the students with structure, discipline and an outlet for their frustrations and energy, and they seem to be having a really positive effect on their behaviour, attitude and self-esteem. Working with an officer like me, who is based in school and sees them regularly, is also an ideal way for young people to develop a positive perception of the police and to break down barriers.”

The classes take place at Bristol Boxing Gym in St Pauls, and are part of the gym’s registered charity Empire Fighting Chance. Six to ten boys and girls from years 8 – 10, take part in the sessions every fortnight during term time.

Year 8 student Sheldon Meaker who has been taking the classes said: “It’s good, it’s good exercise. It’s sick! I don’t want to stop because it makes me feel better about myself.”

Bedminster Down School’s Assistant Head Teacher Dan Goater said: “We’re really lucky to have PC Withers working with us in the school. He is very supportive and proactive in developing positive relationships with students, parents and staff. He has mentored some of our most vulnerable students and the boxing classes are providing an opportunity for students to engage in something positive and gain experience of a new sport.

“The school beat manager role is such an important one. PC Withers has been able to resolve issues in the community that have affected school life and reassure residents that we treat incidents which take place out of school as seriously as we take the ones which happen at school.”

To find out more about Empire Fighting Chance, visit their website: http://www.empirefightingchance.org/

Posted on Wednesday 27th July 2016
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