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Police officers box clever with a club for youngsters

Who’s been making the news round your way this week?

03 November, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Young People at the boxing club set up by police officers at the Sobell Centre

POLICE officers who set up a boxing club for young people and adults earlier this year say some of their members are ready to start boxing in competitions. PC Christopher O’Toole launched the boxing club in May at the Sobell Centre in Hornsey Road. “These kids were moaning about not having stuff to do and the gym has been lying empty for years so we took over and formed this club,” he said.

Boxing coach Luigi Leo, back right, with (front, from left): Ashley Johnson, Christopher O’Toole and Richard Kaplan; top: some of the young boxers

With the help of other volunteer police officers and veteran boxing coach Luigi Leo the club meets after school on Mondays and Wednesdays. “We have kids from all sorts of backgrounds and kids who have been victims of crime to build up their self-esteem. We also have a couple of ex-gang members here,” said Mr O’Toole. “Police officers can seem robotic, but here we want kids to see us in a different light and see we’re here to do a good job,” he added. There are lots of girls at the club too and some of the young people who have been coming since May are now ready to enter the ring for competitions. The police also run sessions for adults where a small fee is taken to fund the classes for young people and keep them free. To find out more email Luigi at, or call: 07717702998

Bridging the Gap gets a fund boost

A MENTORING charity is celebrating this week after being granted thousands of pounds from the National Lottery. Bridging the Gap Islington pairs trained mentors with vulnerable residents to help them find better housing and jobs. “I’ve been a trustee for two years,” said Maddy Robinson, 25. “I was moved to join the cause because history of homelessness within my family which made me want to help.” The charity works with female residents at Bethany House in Angel which houses 93 vulnerable women in the borough. “We only started a few years ago. We are clear about the fact that mentoring is not about friendship. It’s a fixed time period – 16 weeks of voluntary sessions – and we help people set attainable goals. We create regularity for those who check in with us.” The mentors provide practical help such as where to get further advice on housing issues. Bridging the Gap Islington was awarded a National Lottery grant this week and will now be setting up an additional 12 mentors. Find out more at:

Call for Santa’s Christmas helpers

Could you be a volunteer at St Luke’s on December 25?

A COMMUNITY centre in Old Street is seeking volunteers to help over the Christmas holidays to provide meals for the elderly who otherwise might have to eat alone. St Luke’s Centre Community Centre in Central Street hosts a yearly Christmas meal and are seeking out volunteers to help on the day. Project manager Jennifer Bailey said: “It’s a very difficult time for lots of people. People can get low and depressed. It’s a way of getting people out for a fun activity with others. There’ll be someone to talk to and a hot meal. It’s a tough time for people who don’t have family members.” The centre needs around 20 to 25 people to make the meal work on December 25 and is desperately seeking drivers with people carriers. To find out more call Jennifer on: 020 7549 8181 (working hours)


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