This blog is to capture all articles relating to good work including initiatives and successes with regards to gangs (predominantly in London), but also good news stories involving young people more generally.

If you have a good news story or something positive to promote please get in touch at londonstreetgangs@googlemail.com

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Youngsters given a fighting chance

Newham Recorder
November 14, 2012 Wednesday
'You may expect a famous boxing gym tucked away under a gritty flyover to be filled with mean spirited fighters punching the lives out of each other.

But tucked away in a quiet side road, off the busy Silvertown Way, next to the old London docks, the family run Peacock Gym is nurturing the potential of youngsters escaping some of the country's most deprived and crime ridden nearby estates.

The gym in Caxton Street North, Canning Town, may be more famous for rearing professionals such as former boxers Frank Bruno, George and Billy Walker.

But as the gym's mentoring scheme, part of a broader educational programme for young people aged 14-19, is up for a number of awards the Recorder paid a visit to discover the secret behind their success.

The gym's academy, set up four years ago, offers a range of subjects including some that seem a far cry from boxing, from hair and beauty to cycle mechanics, along with a variety of sports including boxing.

Many of its 150 students combine secondary school with more vocational courses at the gym, while others leave mainstream school to study GCSE maths and English at the gym's academy.

Academy manager Glyn Barlow said: "It's not for everyone. But what we are good at is capturing young people on the periphery of gang activity.

"Sometimes it works getting them healthy, eating properly, channelling their energy and changing peer group through the academy rather than just the gym."

Among those who found a new direction in their lives after coming through the gym's door's are four young people, who have now become mentors trying to get others on the right path.

Three on them have secured paid apprenticeships after attending the gym's academy.

They continue their own studies while being paid £2.95 to £3.25 an hour for mentoring younger students. Another became a volunteer mentor after coming in off the street.

The scheme has been shortlisted for the Umbro Sport Project of the Year Award and the Guardian newspaper's small charity awards, along with the Action Against Antisocial Behaviour Award run by the Police Federation.

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