Free boxing boost

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Free boxing and dance sessions are to be offered to young people across South Yorkshire thanks to a £26,500 grant from Sport England.

The sessions aimed at 11 to 25-year-olds will be held at eight schools, with Sheffield’s Fir Vale and Dearne Advanced Learning Centre in Barnsley among the first to show interest.

The programme is being run by SportFX South Yorkshire, which already runs a football coaching initiative.

Training will be one night a week for two hours, and the funding will pay for the coaches, purchase equipment and fund outreach vans.

Former champion boxer Paul ‘Silky’ Jones has been recruited as ambassador for the boxing programme and said the sport allowed young people to channel their energy into something positive.

“The sessions provide a healthy activity, teaching important life skills and social awareness whilst giving them something else to do to meet new friends, learn new skills and engage with positive role models,” he added.

Howard Webb, former Premier League referee and a strong supporter of SportFX added: “We are thrilled and delighted we have been able to expand our provision.

“This substantial funding enables us to deliver boxing sessions to kids in South Yorkshire out of school hours. This will offer young people the opportunity to do something they have not done before.

“We will utilise strong links with satellite boxing clubs and engage with all sorts of kids who would not normally get involved with boxing.”