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6 April 2011, 11:59
The success of a partnership-funded boxing club project in Corby is helping to reduce youth violent crime in the town.
In July last year, £5,000 funding from Corby Community Safety Partnership enabled Sports Development and Corby Amateur Boxing Club to run a diversionary project for youngsters aged 13 and over.
To date, 39 young people have joined the scheme and some weeks up to seven girls attend the session.
ABA English Cruiserweight champion Simon Barclay has acted as a positive role model for the young people, many of whom would otherwise be hanging around the town with nothing to do.
The project has recently been showcased by the East Midlands region at a national conference as an example of how agencies can work together to benefit young people and the community they serve.
The boxing sessions have resulted in the youngsters improving their fitness and skills, feeling more confident about themselves and having more respect for others.
They also feel more safe, mirrored by the encouraging falls in violent crime and criminal damage in Corby since last April.
To the end of February, most serious violent crime has dropped from 91 crimes to 58 (down 33, -36.3 per cent).
Assault with injury is down from 505 crimes to 465 during the same period (a reduction of 40, -7.3 per cent).
And criminal damage offences have fallen from 1306 to 1094 (-212, down 16.2 per cent).
Inspector Gary Williams, of Corby police, said that young people aged 13-17 getting involved in confrontations with authority figures had been a problem in the town.
He said: “The project has been a huge success and has definitely contributed to significant reductions in violent crime and anti-social behaviour in Corby. I would encourage more boys and girls to become involved and use an excellent role model like Simon Barclay as their inspiration.”
John Mulheron, who runs the boxing club project, added: “The funding was a massive boost to the club and has really helped to encourage more kids to get involved in boxing and hopefully stay out of trouble. It was a real honour to go to the national event and highlight how our grass roots boxing club in Corby is helping to reduce violent crime, and also put Corby on the map for the right reasons.”