A non-contact boxing company has received funding which will enable more youngsters to get their gloves on.
Sweet Science, started by Leroy Nicholas in 2005, has been given funds by Sport England to run 20 weeks worth of sessions starting the middle of this month (February). The course will take place at Hanwell Community Centre and is open to all 14 to 18 year olds, who will only have to pay £1 to participate.
Director, Mr Nicholas, who grew up in Ealing but now lives in Ruislip said teenagers can learn valuable life lessons and attitudes through boxing.
He said: “I used to do personal training but when I had my first daughter Esmé, who is now 14, I started to notice things that kids do more and to think that my daughter would be going out into this. I started to feel the personal training was vacuous and that I could do something that could make the world a better place.
“I was quite cheeky at school. I used to stand outside the class thinking I was clever because I’d made people laugh but everyone else was in the class moving forward and that’s the message I want to send to kids. I can say I have been there and this is how it has affected me.”
Mr Nicholas set up the nation-wide company on his own but soon advertised for coaches and now has around 30, with five working in Ealing.
Sweet Science work in primary and secondary schools, including Ellen Wilkinson and Brentside High, and on the curriculum, teaching a boxing GCSE in some establishments.
They have worked, at one point or another, with 70 per cent of the secondary schools in the borough, and in pupil referral units for people who have been thrown out of schools.
The director said: “I have seen some real success stories where the result is nothing- but that’s the result we want. I think it’s the fear of failure with a lot of kids today but I tell them that no one who has ever achieved anything didn’t do so without trying and failing first.”
Sweet Science was named after a book by A.J. Liebling, who wrote that there’s a science to boxing and when it is done correctly it is a ‘sweet science’.
Mr Nicholas said: “I thought that was appropriate for us today because we are trying to change what people think of the sport.”