Town is boxing clever

Youngsters are stepping into the ring and donning boxing gloves in the latest police initiative to keep children off the streets in a Norfolk town. It is hoped that by emulating pugilistic legend Mohammad Ali and up and coming champion Amir Khan, youths in Yarmouth will use muscle power to help them develop new skills and stay out of trouble.

Youngsters are stepping into the ring and donning boxing gloves in the latest police initiative to keep children off the streets in a Norfolk town.

It is hoped that by emulating pugilistic legend Muhammad Ali and up and coming champion Amir Khan, youths in Yarmouth will use muscle power to help them develop new skills and stay out of trouble.

The Kingfisher Amateur Boxing Club has set up an innovative scheme with the police to give young people a focus and sense of direction in their lives by using boxing to improve confidence and channel their energies in a more positive way.

So far about a dozen youths have gloved up and sparred with each other after they were referred to the £10,000 project by members of the police's safer neighbourhood team.

Although eyebrows may be raised that youngsters are being given permission to hit each other the police are keen to point out that boxing can be used to as a force for good.

Sgt Nick Russell said: “It is about giving kids the opportunity to make their own choices. We find that they often go along with the crowd and unintentionally end up getting involved with petty crime.

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“This club gives them the chance to feel strong enough to break away from negative peer pressure and express themselves in a positive way.”

Last year the Kingfisher Club, which is run by volunteers, produced 12 Norfolk champions, 10 Eastern Counties winners and a national champion.

Club coach Tyrone Harold said: “The youngsters learn to interact and respect themselves and one another. I have lost count of the number of times parents have told us that they have never seen their children respond so positively to authority.”

The new boxing project was being highlighted as part of this week's Spotlight on Safer Norfolk campaign.

As part of the campaign the Holt Youth Project won £10,000 through the EDP and Virgin Money sponsored Project Butterfly competition, which is designed to help reduce anti-social behaviour.

The money will be used to renovate and improve facilities at the project, which gives youngsters in the market town something to do with their free time, including using a beauty salon and engineer workshop.

EDP assistant marketing manager Gareth Nicholls said; “The Holt Youth Project is a very worthy winner and we are honoured to be able to help a group of people so devoted to making a positive difference in their community.

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