£12k boost for club helping vulnerable children

D’nae standing in a boxing gym
After attending the session for nearly three years, D’nae now hopes to become a role model for others [BBC]

A boxing club which offers free sessions to children has been offered £12,000 to keep sessions running for another year.

The BoxClever Mentoring initiative in West Bromwich, West Midlands, works with young people referred to it by schools, youth workers, and the police.

More than 1,000 youngsters have taken part over the years, and those who attend at the town’s leisure centre have said they feel “healthy and happy” after being involved.

The scheme is funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner as part of the wider My Tomorrow campaign, which celebrates the voices of the region’s young people.

Craig  Jones
BoxClever Mentoring founder Craig Jones says the skills the children learn in the ring helps them deal with the challenges of school and life [BBC]

Craig Jones, the founder and director of BoxClever Mentoring, believes the skills young people learn in the ring enable them to deal with the challenges of day-to-day life.

He said: “We want to focus on wellbeing, not just the physical side of boxing, we’re interested in the social wellbeing and mental health of every individual that we come across."

West Bromwich Leisure Centre
The sessions are held every Tuesday at the West Bromwich leisure centre [BBC]

The group provides support to a wide range of children, from those who are dealing with forms of bullying to those who have been referred by the police for being at risk of criminal activity.

Mr Jones added: “A couple of lads who were at risk of being involved in gang culture were referred to us a couple of years ago and now they are coaching young people away from these sessions."

D’nae, 16, has been going to the sessions for about three years and believes they have helped him to turn his schooling around.

He said: “Boxing has made a huge difference and boosted my self-esteem and confidence. I feel the tension releasing and I’m now calmer in how I deal with situations.

“I’m doing well because of them, I’m in school, I’m healthy, I’m happy and I’m okay to be here and take their advice on board.”

He now hopes to be a role model for others.

Amoya Harris-Welsh standing in an empty sports hall
Amoya Harris-Welsh says the session have had a huge impact on her son who is autistic [BBC]

Amoya Harris-Welch, a mother whose child attends the sessions, believes the transferable skills have had a positive impact.

“My son has been diagnosed with autism and I find boxing helps him to calm down a lot.

“With all the bullying in schools, this will help children to build their confidence and learn how to walk away.”

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