A NEW boxing club dedicated to steering children off the streets will open next week.
Yusuf Hameed and Lee Brown – both award-winning coaches – plan to run weekly sessions at the Soothill Community Centre.
And they are appealing to the community to help them get the Frickley Boxing Academy off the ground.
“I visit Batley for religious purposes and you see groups of kids hanging around the train and bus stations. They can look very intimidating,” said Yusuf, 38.
“If people could donate equipment or old boxing gear, that could really help us get the kids on board.
“We want to motivate them and keep them off the streets.”
Based on a successful boxing club which Yusuf set up in his home village of Frickley, training would be free or boys and girls aged 11 upwards.
The ex-professional Muay Thai competitor tried to launch the club in Batley last year.
However the timing of the launch coincided with Ramadan, which Yusuf feels was the cause for a lack of interest from the Muslim community.
But having secured a new venue, he is confident the newly formed club will be a success.
Yusuf said: “I’ve been training people out of my back kitchen but lots of kids have asked me to train them.
“I’ve been giving one-to-one sessions to a kid called Ahmed Hussain.
“He is just 20 but a real talent. All of his mates have said they want to come along.”
Sessions are free and will be running on Wednesday evenings from 6pm, focusing on traditional western boxing and Muay Thai kickboxing.
Youngsters can turn up on the night to join.
Both Yusuf and Lee have been training for nearly 20 years.
Yusuf won Yorkshire sports ‘coach of the year’ award in 2010 and Lee was honoured with the same prize a year later.
And Yusuf believes sports can help drive down obesity levels and improve discipline in youngsters.
He said: “You get some rough and ready characters – anyone else would think that there isn’t a chance for them.
“But then you see them develop into young men.
“The transformation you see is unbelievable.”
Anyone who is interested in helping with donations should contact 07414080473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.