A COMMUNITY boxing club has proved to be a big hit with youngsters on a Wirral housing estate.
More than 100 young people attended the eight-week pilot scheme on the Beechwood estate in Bidston, which provided free boxing sessions for six to 16-year-olds.
The twice-weekly sessions at Beechwood Recreation Centre were funded as part of a joint initiative between Liverpool Housing Trust and Beechwood, Ballantyne & Bidston Village Big Local after residents raised concerns about a lack of activities for kids in the area.
The sessions were delivered by ABA-qualified coaches from Birkenhead Venture Boxing Club, with support from Wirral Council and Woodchurch Boxing Club, who kindly loaned some of their equipment to help get the club up and running.
The pilot was such a success that plans are now underway to roll out regular weekly sessions.
The local community has already clubbed together to raise £400 to help buy new equipment.
Karl Rooney, programme manager at Beechwood, Ballantyne & Bidston Village Big Local, said: "It's great to see the boxing club join the list of successful local initiatives that will benefit from Big Local funding in partnership with Liverpool Housing Trust.
"The boxing club is a great example of what can happen when residents share positive ideas that will benefit the local community and this scheme is just one of many funded activities planned for 2017 for residents living in Beechwood, Ballantyne and Bidston Village".
Labour ward councillor Brian Kenny said: "This is a fantastic initiative to try and help young people who live in this area get involved in something positive.
"It's great to see so many kids – boys and girls – taking part, getting fit and releasing some positive energy".
Boxing coach Mark Stevenson said: "Over the 16 sessions we've had about 100 kids through the door, with around 16 or 17 regulars each week.
"It's all pretty basic stuff, from warm-up games to non-aggressive sparring, but the kids have been fantastic and progressed really well".
As part of the plans to expand the community boxing club, there may also be opportunities for local residents to get involved and become qualified coaches to help deliver the sessions.