ST JOSEPH’S Amateur Boxing Club in Newport welcomed the first group of young people to try out its new Fit For Life programme this week.

The gym, which is run by Tony Borg, Bill Reynolds and Roger Williams, has a new look after an £18,000 refit courtesy of a £10,000 donation from sponsors Thames Valley Construction and £8,000 grant from The Sported Foundation.

The money has been used to purchase a huge range of fitness equipment from the Newport Centre.

Sported is the UK’s leading sport for development charity and it awarded a grant of £8,148 to the club to develop and deliver its Fit for Life programme.

The three-year programme has been designed to divert young people away from antisocial behaviour and crime.

Sported is a free membership organisation which provides funding and business support to community and grassroots organisations which deliver ‘sport for development’ – projects that use sport as a tool to engage disadvantaged young people and help them, among many things, to get back to education, off drugs, out of gangs and off the street.

Among those to initially benefit from the extensive range of new equipment is CfBT Education trust, Positive Futures and students from Newport Council’s Include programme.

The St Joes coaches delivered the first Fit For Life session to the members of the programmes this week, which included not only boxing related exercise but teamwork sessions and strength and conditioning circuits using the new equipment.

Williams, said: “We are delighted to have received funding from Thames Valley Construction and Sported.

“The project will encourage young people into sport and use this to raise their aspirations and develop them as future leaders and positive role models for the community.”

Borg said: “These are kids who’ve been in trouble for one reason or another and the idea is to get them off the streets, get them in and train hard.

“Changing lives through sport is the Sported motto and we’ve been doing that for years but now we’re doing it officially in partnership with them.”

Richard Thomas, Wales manager for The Sported Foundation, said: “St Josephs ABC has demonstrated its commitment to using sport for social change.

“The support they have received from Sported has enabled them to develop a business plan, which will support the sustainability of this valuable work.”

For more information on St Joseph’s Fit for Life programme contact the gym on 01633 663003.