Littlehampton boxing club owner offers teenagers training to help the fight against youth crime
A Littlehampton boxing club owner has offered teenagers training to help the fight against youth crime.
When gym owner Chris Wright saw a group of young people hanging around in Angmering, his first instinct was to warn the public.
But determined to put some positivity back into the world, he decided to reach out a helping glove to teenagers who might be tempted to take part in antisocial behaviour.
Following a warning post on Facebook about the youths, the 40-year-old father-of-two from East Preston shared another: this time offering to train them at Above the Belt in Arcade Road, Littlehampton.
He described the reaction to it as ‘crazy’, with an uptake of teenagers joining the gym – which he took over in December – and the owner of IT services company Glencairn Consulting donating £1,000 to support the cause.
The former police officer said: “A friend of mine says ‘where positivity grows, energy flows, and I have tried to put positivity out there.
“This just shows that there is that need for support for that age group; they are the forgotten age group.”
Chris, who works in social services for his day job, held his first group for 11-17 year olds on Friday evening, charging £2 a session rather than the standard £5.
As a result of the Facebook post, he said The Angmering School in Station Road, Angmering, had approached him to run boxing lessons at the school for pupils at risk of falling prey of the county lines crime phenomenon and from underprivileged backgrounds.
County lines is the practice of drug gangs from London setting up hubs in smaller towns, often using children as runners. Chris said he was speaking to other schools in the area to see if they wanted to join the fledgling scheme.
He said the young people who had joined were already feeling the benefits that the discipline of boxing instilled.
He said: “One of the boys was getting very aggressive and angry at school, but he realised that if you step into the ring and get angry, you lose control and you get punched in the face.
“That is a metaphor for life as well.”
Chris got into boxing himself later in life, after injuring his knee in his penultimate martial arts fight in 2012 and dislocating his knee twice more afterwards while playing rugby.
If you know someone who could benefit from these classes, message the Above the Belt Facebook page or email Chris at [email protected]