WORDS BY JASON SISCA
Knife crime is on the rise in Staffordshire, and with many wondering what can be done to make their communities safer, one man has started the charge.
Andy Whitehall MBE is one of many who have stepped up and started offering self-defence and boxing classes to people across Staffordshire.
This week, Whitehall helped train 21 teachers to teach boxing, to help them not only provide for the community, but also send children onto potential pathway towards boxing and such sports that require dedication and discipline.
Whitehall said: “The teachers did a GCSE equivalent of an amateur boxing qualification, endorsed by GB boxing, ASDAN and many other bodies.
“The plan was to engage disadvantaged or disengaged children through boxing, diverting them away from gang culture and gang crime, and rolling it out across as many schools across Staffordshire as possible.”
“The training course went really well and now allows them to deliver boxing and education credits, which count towards Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Trust, things these children may never consider.
“It all then improves their CV when going for jobs, and this rewarding engagement means they are less likely to revert to crime.”
Whitehall also enjoys delivering sessions to younger members of the community around Staffordshire through the Right Stuff Project, and says he’s been contacted by many schools around the area asking to provide sessions.
As boxing is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, Whitehall may well start the career of Stoke’s next top-level boxer.