Former WBC light-heavyweight boxing champion John Conteh, was guest of honour at the launch of a new non-contact boxing intitative.
The Hertfordshire’s Big Hit project aims to reduce anti-social behaviour and the risk of offending by youngsters aged seven to 15 across the county.
The three-year project has been awarded £320,413 from the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund.
Guests joined members of Herts Sports & Physical Activity Partnership (HSP), the community sports development arm of the University of Hertfordshire, at the launch.
Deputy vice-chancellor Prof Ian Campbell welcomed representatives from the 15 organisations and all 10 of Hertfordshire’s local authorities, which worked together to submit the successful application to the Big Lottery Fund.
The project will be delivered by the charity Box Cleva, of which John Conteh is patron. As one of 10 children, John overcame considerable odds to become a successful boxer, and he urges others to believe anything is possible.
He said: “The work that Box Cleva already do in local communities is fantastic and this Big Lottery Fund grant will let many more young people benefit from the programme.
“The non-contact boxing training coupled with life skills training gives the youngsters discipline and direction that helps them go on to be anything they want to be.”