CM is aged 14 and he and his family have known George, Mark and Carney’s Community for the last 2 years. When CM first came in contact with the team, he was on the Anti Social Behaviour list, due to youth offending. His referral highlighted concerns that CM had missed almost 2 years of education and was causing a lot of trouble in his local area.
Whilst at primary school CM was described as unmanageable, and on one occasion he dislocated a teacher’s finger. He was excluded from a number of different schools and was out of education for all of year 6 and year 7. By the age of 11 he had been arrested a number of times and had three outstanding court cases.
CM had had a tough upbringing, with his father spending a substantial amount of time in prison and CM moving around between his mother, grandmother and a local travelling site.
On the families initial meeting with Carney’s Community, CM appeared uninterested in the programme. He said that previous youth workers had made promises they couldn’t keep and didn’t listen to him. However, he was convinced to give them a chance and when he was told about the boxing fitness sessions. CM had a real interest in boxing and stated he wanted to get fit. For this reason he was immediately linked into Carney’s Community weekly boxing fitness session at Earlsfield Amateur Boxing Club (Earlsfield ABC).
He excelled in this and forged close relationships with both Mark and George, who paid close attention to how CM was doing, both in the boxing club and society as a whole. During this time CM was still involved in anti-social behaviour and had gone missing from home for over a week. As George knew a lot of the young people in the area, he spoke to them and managed to track CM down. He explained that there were family issues that were troubling him, so we arranged a family meeting, where the issues were discussed and resolved.
CM was also told that his attendance at school was essential if he wanted to continue at the boxing club, so we drew up a personal development plan and contract with him.
With a few minor hiccups, we all stuck to our agreement and CM soon decided that boxing training was something that he really enjoyed and wanted to compete in. This decision was helped by Earlsfield ABC, who allowed CM to come to a number of their shows (for free), so that he could see what was involved with competitive boxing. CM was instantly hooked, but felt that he could not join Earlsfield ABC, as his family had been involved in a feud with another family whose son had just started boxing there. However, he was instead linked in to Fitzroy Lodge Amateur Boxing Club.
CM instantly took well to Fitzroy Lodge and would train there whenever he was allowed. He would also attend as many of their shows as possible, to support his fellow boxers and demonstrate that he was dedicated enough for them to invest in him as a boxer. On top of this CM used to go jogging every day and his mum talks of him spending most evenings shadow boxing in front of the bathroom mirror. CM went on to build good relationships with a number of the coaches, who all kept in contact with CC and the network working with CM (school, police and Youth Offending Team), to ensure CM was behaving when he was not at the boxing club.
It was explained to CM, that in order to represent his boxing club he would need to fully engage with education, stay out of trouble with the police and not get involved in any antisocial behaviour. The affects of this were almost instantaneous. CM’s school, who had been in the process of putting in place a managed transfer, agreed to give him another chance.
There were a few problems to start with, but with good communication between the agencies and the family, his attendance and behaviour began to improve. So much so, that his attendance for the next term moved to 100%. He also started helping out at after school events (such as school plays) and even received and award from the headmaster for improved behaviour. On one occasion, another pupil challenged CM to a fight, but CM refused, through fear that the boxing club would not let him box, had he been involved in fights outside of the ring.
Alongside CM’s achievements at school, his name was soon taken off the Anti Social Behaviour list and the police reported a marked improvement in his behaviour. The Sergeant of the local Safer Neighbourhood Team also took an interest in CM’s boxing, so CM invited him to his first ever bout, to demonstrate how well he was doing with his boxing.
CM is now a fully fledged member of Fitzroy Lodge ABC and has had 7 bouts. He continues to attend every session that he can, and even comes back to the initial Friday evening boxing fitness sessions, to show the young people there what can be achieved with a bit of hard work. He also helps with the training and mentoring with some of the younger members. He is engaging well at school and now has a positive relationship with everyone in his community, including the local police. His family say he is like a different child and they are incredibly proud of what he has achieved. Whilst the police say he is a model citizen, who has even helped them with issues relating to other young people in the area.
When asked, CM stated that the reason for his change in behaviour came from George and Mark listening to what it was that he wanted and acting on this, his introduction to boxing and the support that he was given by the coaches and staff at Earlsfield ABC, Fitzroy Lodge ABC and Carney’s Community. However, it also came from CM, who chose to accept the support and pushed himself to be all that he can.
CM continues to excel in all areas of life and spends all of his time either at the boxing club or at school (doing both curricular and extra curricular activities). He is a fantastic example of someone that has come from a disadvantaged background, but has worked hard, through sport, to achieve and do well in all areas of his life. He is also now acting as a positive role model for many other young people who have always looked up to him. Now they recognise his achievements in boxing, rather than anti-social behaviour and violence.