London Fire Brigade

Lambeth boxing initiative has gang crime on the ropes

28 October 2015

A new scheme to help young people in South London break away from gangs is being launched by us today.

Based in a Herne Hill boxing gym, the course is a unique blend of boxing lessons, fitness and firefighter skills plus young people will even have the chance to qualify and earn money as a personal trainer.

Anyone aged 14 - 16 in the Lambeth Borough can sign-up for the course.

Participants start with free boxing lessons and those who show real commitment will be selected to take part in our Local Intervention Fire Education (LIFE) course, which teaches firefighter skills such as first aid and casualty rescue skills alongside general life skills including leadership and teamwork.

A selection of LIFE graduates will then be taught how to become a personal trainer and offered the chance to start their own personal training business.

'Reward and incentivise'

Lambeth Borough Commander Rick Ogden explains: "I was born and bred in this borough so I wanted to do something that would make a real difference to the young people I live and work alongside.

"I wanted to deliver a course that gave out more than a certificate at the end; this is a real journey which could end with the first step on the career ladder.

"Just stepping into the boxing ring is pretty intimidating but if you show commitment and drive then you could be selected for the youth engagement programme and personal training course.

"The idea is to reward and incentivise participants throughout the course.

"Thanks to some funding from the Brigade, the scheme has a loyalty card.

"Get five stamps on your card you get some boxing shorts, fill in a further five stamps and you get some boxing gloves, it helps maintain focus and gives the young people a goal.

"As you progress through the course, the incentives get bigger as you can get fit, learn vital life skills and even qualify as a personal trainer."

Lambeth Borough Commander Rick Ogden (second left) pictured at Miguel's Boxing Gym.

Alan Kitson who delivers the free boxing lessons said: "I started offering local kids free boxing training because I wanted to offer young people a place to channel their energy into something positive.

"I have had first hand experience of growing up around gangs and it takes a lot of courage to take a different path and boxing offers a chance to build self confidence as well as fitness.

"This partnership with the Brigade takes it to the next level.

"To offer the possibility of earning money to become a personal trainer will really help the young people see they have some genuine choices."

Our work with young people

Launched in Tower Hamlets in 2002, as a response to anti-social behaviour against our firefighters, the LIFE scheme now operates in all London boroughs and has engaged with more than 12,000 young people.

We also run a free Fire Cadets scheme offering young people, aged 14 to 18-years-old, the opportunity to get nationally recognised qualification while developing their personal skills.

For more information about the boxing initiative and to sign up to the course contact Steve Miguel on 07931 231 291.