A free eight-week programme aimed at keeping young people off the streets will begin this weekend.Advertisement
The On The Ropes programme, run by anti-knife crime community organisation the The JJ Effect and Smart Fit Preston, has been fast-tracked following the tragic death of Sarmad Al-Saidi in Deepdale last week.
The classes are open to 13 to 16 year olds, and will involve boxing, group fitness and team building. A free meal and drink will also be provided.
The JJ Effect was set up by the older brother of Jon-Jo Highton, who was stabbed to death by six men in 2014.
Since then, Byron Highton has been campaigning against knife crime and delivering powerful educational talks to warn about the dangers to young people.
Read more: ‘He was always giving back to those in need’ says stabbing victim Sarmad Al-Saidi’s best friend
Byron said: “We want to waste no time in doing our bit to provide a safe alternative to street life. We want to show young people how dedication to any kind of hobby in life can be vital in their development.
“Now more than ever, young people need a place to have fun and stay positive in such dark times. Many families are struggling to buy food, it’s such a sad time for so many people.
“This is only the start of the upcoming J J Effect plans in anti-knife crime and child protection activity across Preston, and we hope that our community will back us yet again.”
Read more: Parents pay tribute to teenager Sarmad Al-Saidi who died after Deepdale stabbing
The eight workshops will take place at Smart Fit in Campbell Street each Saturday from 1pm to 2.30pm, beginning 2 January.
As a youth and child protection programme, the workshops can go ahead despite Preston moving into Tier 4. Safety measures will be in place including face masks, temperature checks and hand sanitising.
There’s space for up to 20 young people with one parent or guardian each. To book, contact Byron via The JJ Effect Facebook page.
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
What do you think of The JJ Effect and Smart Fit working to help young people? Let us know in the comments.