Boxing GCSE to give kids hope

A COMMUNITY boxing club is to offer troubled teenagers a GCSE in the sport.

A COMMUNITY boxing club is to offer troubled teenagers a GCSE in the sport.

Stonebridge Boxing Club will be one of the first clubs in the country to provide the course and the first in Brent.

It will be aimed at young people who have struggled in mainstream education.

At a recent meeting, representatives from Brent community groups, Pupil Referral Units and the Youth Offender Team expressed strong interest, but Aimar Ali, who manages the club, wants more schools to get involved.

Mr Ali said: “We are targeting kids with issues and problems. Maybe they are disruptive and don’t want to sit down in a class or on a computer. Boxing is more of a fun way of educating.

“We are now looking for schools and education centres to help make this a success and change people.”

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The course will include modules on fitness, diet and nutrition and event planning and management, however, the boxing will be non-contact.

The National Boxing Award programme was set-up by ex-boxer, Quinton Shillingford and has been running since 2006.

Previously no school in the country had offered boxing as an option.

Shillingford said: “Boxing gives them an opportunity to do a topic that gives them self-esteem and confidence. We had a girl at our club who used to run a gang and sell drugs. She’s a changed person since doing the course. A lot of these troubled kids aren’t macho or tough; they just keep doing stupid things.”

SBC has recently secured funding and will be kitting the club out with computers for the students.

It is now looking to the council to help with a van after youth workers expressed concern over bringing kids in from different postcodes.

Cllr Van Kalwala (Lab: Stonebridge), who has worked closely with the club, said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to not only keep fit and healthy but to also acquire recognised qualifications. It’s important that we continue to provide innovative ways to help develop key skills for Brent youngsters.”

The first term is expected to start in November.