Classes for young offenders in Barking and Dagenham

Free boxing and firefighter training classes are to be offered to young offenders in Barking and Dagenham.

The £32,000 crime reduction programme, which will also includes workshops in schools highlighting how communities are impacted by law breaking, is funded by City Hall.

Up to 70 young people who have been convicted or are at risk of becoming involved in crime will have the chance to take part in the scheme run by the Met Police and Youth Offending Service Gangs Unit.

Five schemes will each receive £5,000 to help “steer young people away from crime and reduce the risk of reoffending”, a council spokesman said.

Some of the money will also be used to increase the number of Neighbourhood Watch groups in the borough.

One of the schemes is Right Box, a 12-week boxing programme that offers young adults training and mentoring sessions.

Dan O’Sullivan, from Right Box, said: “We offer youngsters a chance to not only progress in the ring, but to earn nationally recognised qualifications that can help them in their careers.

“Boxing is more than just mindless fighting. It requires discipline, the ability to see the bigger picture, and provides a purpose that can lead to a pathway that takes people away from anti-social behaviour.”

Councillor Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for community safety, added: “This isn’t about rewarding bad behaviour, but about showing these youngsters they can play a part in making their community better and focus their energy in a positive way.”

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Rachael Burford

Local Democracy Reporter