A BOXING club set up with funding from the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner is transforming lives by giving youngsters a focus.

Forest Fighting Fit based at the Miners Welfare Hall in Cinderford is celebrating its second anniversary and is going from strength to strength, with more than 60 people of various ages attending the three boxing sessions each week.

Michelle Gardiner, Forest Fighting Fit chairman, said: “One of our young members has struggled with a condition most of his life, but he’s discovered the benefits of boxing have had amazing results on his health.

“As volunteers seeing a young person turn their life around is extremely satisfying and makes our work worthwhile.” 

She added: “We are extremely grateful to the Community Safety Partnership for submitting a successful funding bid to the PCC and Active Gloucestershire who also provided additional funding which has enabled us to get off the ground and help reduce anti-social behaviour through activity.

“We are extremely pleased to announce that Keith Brice has recently gained his ABA Coaching Award. We are all volunteers, including the coaches and we are determined to continue to further develop the club. 

“It’s great to see so many people getting involved. Boxing is all about discipline and it’s a great way to keep fit, so as well as being an exciting sport it has fantastic health benefits.”

Cllr Terry Hale, Gloucestershire council cabinet member for the community, said: “The Community Safety Partnership is pleased to have been able to support the volunteers with the set-up of the club. The volunteers at the club have told us that because of the PCC funding it’s been possible to bring boxing into the local community.”   

Deputy PCC Chris Brierley said: “Forest Fighting Fit is an excellent example of how a small investment can make a huge difference.

“When you compare the county to the national figures for anti-social behaviour, it is proof that projects like the boxing club in Cinderford are making a real difference. Well done to all the volunteers and all those involved on the second anniversary, and here’s to many more.”             The Forest Fighting Fit boxing sessions run on Wednesdays, juniors 6.15pm to 7.15pm, adults 7.15pm to 8.45pm; Fridays, all age groups, 7pm to 9pm; and Sundays, all age groups. White Lotus Martial Arts and Fitness kickboxing sessions are also held at the Miners Welfare Hall on Mondays, with juniors from 6pm to 7pm, and adults from 7pm to 8.30pm.

New members and volunteers are welcome. Contact Michelle Gardiner or visit the ‘Forest Fighting Fit’ Facebook page for information about boxing sessions or the ‘White Lotus Martial Arts and Fitness’ Facebook page for details about kickboxing sessions.