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A Fresh Start

HM Prison ServiceWe first met SM as a friend of some of the young people who were referred to our boxing fitness session in 2006. He used to attend the Friday evening boxing fitness training sessions with Mark and George at Fitzroy Lodge Amateur Boxing Club (ABC). Unfortunately he stopped attending these sessions and got himself caught up in a bit of trouble and was given a prison sentence of 4 years 10 months.

George recognised that SM had a lot of potential, if he decided to make the right choices. So when he found out about his custodial sentence, he wrote to him and the two of them kept in contact via phone and letters. During his sentence George and Mark set up Carney's Community and SM saw how they were helping some of his old friends to turn their lives around and get into work.

So he asked if he would be able to get involved when he was released. George suggested that, as he was being re-categorised into a D Cat prison, he would look into whether he could do some volunteering for the charity. SM was very keen for this to happen, so George wrote to the prison and probation, who helped to assess the appropriateness of the placement and then set the plan in motion.

SM explained that his main goal is to find employment, when he is released and has plans to get into the sports and leisure field, so it was decided that he would be placed at Fitzroy Lodge ABC (where he first attended the Friday evening boxing fitness sessions). A plan was put together based on the principles of boxing that SM was initially taught, based on honour, discipline and control.

He is currently down at the gym 4 days a week and his duties consist of him helping with the day to day running of the gym (cleaning, taking phone calls and putting equipment away), supporting our coach with warming up and warming down and taking registers. He has also been put on the boxing tutor course and we hope to get him his Gym Instructor level 2 in the next couple of months.

Whilst doing this placement, we also have SM on an individual personal development plan, which gives him the opportunity to demonstrate that he has left his old lifestyle behind and is serious about his rehabilitation. We are working alongside his probation officer (we currently have a strong relationship with Wandsworth probation through other projects that we run) feeding back how he is progressing and any issues that may arise.

We see this as an important part of SM’s journey through rehabilitation and re-integration back into his community, by allowing him to “put something back” whilst under the supervision of our organisation and the probation service. With the ultimate aim being to help him access paid employment.

SM says his aim is to be able to make an honest living and to give back to the local young people in the same way Mark and George have done for him.

SM is also involved in a new project based at Fitzroy Lodge where he, alongside other boxers and ex-offenders, volunteer their time to deliver a summer scheme to at risk young people. Teaching them the boxing basics whilst also explaining how the sport of boxing has helped them to achieve their goals.