A partnership initiative to help young people make positive lifestyle choices has reached it’s midway point in Dunfermline.
Punch Beyond is a joint venture by Police Scotland, Active Schools, Youth Justice, Boxing Scotland and Trench Boxing Gym, which aims to improve the quality of life for teenagers in the region by giving them a range of new skills.
The programme is designed to educate young people on the influences that cause conflict and how to rationalise these types of situations to make better choices.
The sessions taking place at Trench Boxing Gym will be led by professional boxing coach, Gordon Brennan, who has devised an eight-week programme that takes the participants through the skills and techniques of boxing, whilst instilling the discipline of the sport.
Punch Beyond will be a block of eight boxing sessions at Trench Boxing Gym, along with a range of workshops to S2 and S3 pupils to educate them on the four core values of Boxing Scotland – courage, determination, respect and passion.
The workshops are split between social and educational seminars, focused on the impact of violent activities and risk of harm. These are presented by a range of agencies, including the police NHS, SACRO, NHS, SAMH Aid and Abet and Barnardos.
Following an initial six-week pilot at St Columba’s High School in Dunfermline, Punch Beyond is now expanding for the 2019/2020 school year, to include all secondary schools in Dunfermline.
Punch Beyond began on Friday 25th October with pupils from Woodmill High School and St Columba’s High School, before extending to Dunfermline and Queen Anne High schools at the start of 2020.
Each enrolled student will be provided starter kits, including training t–shirt, hand straps, gloves, water bottle and learning evaluation pack.
Boxing Scotland are providing the conclusion to each intake with a special training session at their High Performance Centre in Glasgow.
Attendees will have the chance to train within this setting alongside international coaches and boxers.
They will also take part in a Q&A session to find out more about what commitment and sacrifices it takes to become an elite boxer or other elite athlete
The programme will be evaluated throughout, gaining feedback from pupils and partners. Activities and training sessions will be promoted across social media allowing pupils, parents and the wider community to view the positive impact of this initiative.
Constable Scott Morgan, School Engagement Officer for Police Scotland said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to learn skills and techniques of a disciplined sport, whilst gaining insight into key life lessons that will help their decision making in the future.
“They will learn what negative influence alcohol and drugs has in conflict situations, as well as the consequences of offending behaviour and how to channel any aggression they may have.
“From our initial pilot at St Columba’s High School, we have seen new friendships form and a large proportion of the group are now attending evening sessions at Trench Boxing Gym in their free time. We view this as a great opportunity for young people to engage with police in a positive manner and remove any barriers.
“We would like to thanks all our lead partners for their contribution in setting up this initiative and for the funding support provided by Carnegie Dunfermline Trust and Fife Council’s Dunfermline Area Committee.”
Darren Wilson from Active Schools added: “It is brilliant to see young people from all environments working to their limit and being tested both physically and mentally.
“In terms of a school to club link working with Trench Boxing Gym has been exceptional, from the 12 participants on the pilot 6 pupils have joined the gyms weekly sessions.
“I am excited to see what percentage 120 pupils from next year’s intake we can get attending this community orientated club.”
St Columba’s High School pupil, Brandon Lafferty, said: “Being part of Punch Beyond showed me how far I could push myself physically, it was great seeing others in the group enjoying themselves and working hard to reach their limits.
“I would recommend this opportunity to other pupils as it allows you to build confidence and be more social.”
Gordon Brennan, Boxing Coach and Owner of the Trench Boxing Gym, said: “Being involved in this project is a massive honour and it’s been great working with the youngsters and giving them a safe place to express themselves, while channelling their energy in a positive boxing class scenario.
“The feedback from the first group and my personal experience is that boxing helps boost your mood, relieves stress, builds self-control and respect for yourself and others.
“Training in this environment also brings a strong bond within the group, which helps to form lasting friendships .
“I hope these young people commit to giving 100% and reap the benefits of learning new skills, while training in conditions similar to a professional boxer.”