Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye has funded free boxing and martial arts classes for young people in Bedfordshire as part of his Summer of Fun programme.
This initiative formed part of his plans to invest in early intervention programmes to safeguard young people, encourage healthy choices and improve self-esteem.
Mr. Akinbusoye said: "I want to thank my office and our key partners for delivering these sessions across Bedfordshire in such a short period of time. It was a pleasure to join in on some of these in Luton, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford and other locations - and seeing how much fun our young people were having was just fantastic"
"With over 500 young people attending at least one of 22 sessions, it is clear to me that this is something we need to do again each summer. I want to thank the parents, our High Sheriff, Bedfordshire Police officers and local businesses who all helped to make this possible by either bringing the children, donating food or helping with logistics as well".
Partners including Boxing Saves Lives, Ringcraft Boxing, and Sendo-Ryu Martial Arts Association hosted the sessions at different locations across the county.
Community Policing Officer Shezad Ahmed said: “The summer of fun was a great initiative and appreciated, not only by the kids who attended, but also by the parents. It was great to support the event and being able to engage with the kids and build key relationships which will hopefully prove to be beneficial in the future”.
JP Smith from Boxing Saves Lives said: “We were blown away by the enthusiasm and engagement of the boys and girls who attended, and the initiative was a perfect antidote to a difficult year many had experienced. We know the benefits boxing can bring to the physical and mental health of young people, and it was incredible to see martial arts showcase how this unique perspective can improve lives”.
The Commissioner, in his recently launched Police and Crime Plan has placed early intervention, partnership working and tackling the causes of youth offending at the heart of police priorities in Bedfordshire.