THE sport of boxing showed just what a benefit it can be to the wider community when one Hereford club linked up with a policing team.

The South Wye Police Boxing Academy welcomed youngsters between the age of eight and 16 to its headquarters at the Hinton Community Centre every day through the summer holidays.

As well as taking part in boxing training, the children also learned numerous life skills.

The Maverick Stars’ six week joint venture between the boxing academy and the South Wye Safer Neighbourhood team of West Mercia Police also provided a free healthy hot lunch for all participants.

Michael Maguire, an England Boxing Club Development Officer, was one of those clearly impressed by the scheme.

“ I cannot praise South Wye boxing and the local police enough," he said.

"This is a wonderful partnership project that has bought together more than 180 young people and provided over 840 healthy meals for the community.

"Every day saw, on average, 35 children in the gym training and discussing various topics from respect for others, healthy living, and fire safety.

"These types of projects are invaluable in breaking down barriers within communities and in forming strong relationships with the local police and the fire service.

"This has created a great future for all of the groups taking part”

Meanwhile, the boxing academy Secretary, Vince McNally, added: “Herefordshire Council’s Adults and Communities department has been great.

"Without its help a lot of projects would not happen.

"I think a lot of local families have benefited from this project and we hope that we can provide the same project next summer.

"We are lucky to have an amazing team of experienced coaches at the club, who gave up their time for free and I must also thank Sarah,our chef, who provided superb meals for the children.”

A new project will be starting later this month when the boxing academy and West Mercia Police will be teaching the sport in a safe environment in the local community.

The first six weeks of training will be in Kingstone and the project will then be expanded across the county.