Conservative-supported gym scheme is fit for purpose

Conservative-supported gym scheme is fit for purpose

Young offenders are working out ways to build a brighter future in a ground-breaking partnership with a Westbury gym.

The Athlete Centre is working with the county's Youth Offending Team, which is a partnership including Conservative-led Wiltshire Council, to guide six teenagers who are on court orders through an eight-week gym course.

This course is part of wider work designed to both prevent and challenge young people to move away from offending. This includes providing positive activities, helping identified individuals to feel more involved in their community while boosting their opportunities to get back into work; all of which evidence shows, can be effective in reducing re-offending and the subsequent impact on the community.

As well as offering an introduction to health-boosting exercise, the young people will complete a basic qualification module in coaching and fitness. They will complete 30 minutes of work on their portfolio in each weekly session. That equates to four hours of educational input from a highly experienced coach.

If the project goes well work experience placements may be available to a couple of the boys. That will take the form of shadowing the coaches at the gym and the possibility of hosting basic coaching sessions of their own at the gym.

If the project takes off it will offer young people who may have poor health, a history of drug misuse, mental health issues and other difficulties a means of improving their well-being in a range of ways.

Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council's Conservative cabinet member for children, education and skills, said:

The first session will be the culmination of a lot of work, planning and engagement from young people.

The project is potentially a very positive influence on the young people. The gym owner, and the council's area boards which supplied the funding, deserve recognition for creating this new opportunity.

Lee Salter, director of The Athlete Centre, said:

There is nowhere in the county that offers what we are trying to put together. The enthusiasm and passion to help these young people is something we really want to pursue.

by Hollis Butler,