South Staffordshire Housing Association (SSHA) has proven it’s fighting the corner of local youth group, Huntington Amateur Community Boxing Club, by donating a knockout £1,000.
The club, in Huntington near Cannock, is the latest in The Right Stuff scheme, a project model aimed at tackling youth offending and promoting community cohesion through the skills learnt in the art of boxing.
Pioneered by Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Youth Offending Prevention Service, South Staffordshire Care Trust, the local Community and Learning Partnership, as well as Stone and Stafford Borough Councils, the club will provide trained instructors to children and young adults aged between 10 and 20, as long as they agree and adhere to a set of simple rules.
PC Andy Whitehall from The Right Stuff explains: “We ask the kids to sign an agreement to say they will not get involved in any anti social behaviour or criminal activity; will not truant from school; will accept professional help for alcohol/drug problems and will take part in community initiatives. Our programme not only keeps young people off the streets, but teaches them respect for authority, valuable learning and social skills, aggression management and generally promotes a healthy way of life.
"All these skills will prove invaluable to these young people throughout their lives and will hopefully encourage a positive lifestyle and keep them on track for success.”
SSHA is fully supportive of initiatives like The Right Stuff as it is committed to improving the local community and helping to ensure the future for its young people is positive and that they feel an inclusion within society.
Jackie Illic, neighbourhood involvement officer at SSHA, explains: "We all need to ensure that the young people in our communities feel involved; if they are, we will find that they not only put more into society but that they grow up to be positive and confident and take pride in themselves and everything they do."
Staffordshire Police work extremely closely with the community and have worked with them to create a programme that benefits everyone in the area.
PC Andy Whitehall adds: “Officers and youth workers have listened to local young people and residents and together they have brought this project to Huntington for the benefit of the whole of the community. By working in this way we aim to promote a good perception of young people and make the local community a safer and happier place.”
In return for the skills they learn in the boxing ring, the youngsters are encouraged to give something back to the community. If they take part in initiatives, such as litter picking and clean-ups, they earn points, which can be exchanged with the club for sports kits, such as trainers, T-shirts and shorts.
PC Whitehall concludes: "The matching kits not only give them a pride in their appearance but also a sense of belonging, which is an essential part of the project.
"We'd like to thank SSHA for the kind donation and hope to work closely with them in the future to ensure these kids continue to flourish."
For further information about SSHA visit www.ssha.co.uk or, to get involved with The Right Stuff, contact PC 5093 Tim Rees or PCSO6621 Louise Jones on 0300 123 4455.