A YOUTH CENTRE volunteer has scooped an award for encouraging young people to ‘perspire and aspire’ by taking up boxing.
Paul Connelly, 40, of London Road, St Leonards has been given a Heart Hero Award by the British Heart Foundation, for his work at Xtrax young people’s centre.
Over the last nine months Paul has inspired young people who were doing close to no physical exercise to take part in three gruelling boxing sessions a week, as part of the Sweat Programme.
This aims to add a physical element to the support that Xtrax offers to young people in Hastings and St Leonards.
The Heart Hero Awards recognise those who have gone the extra mile to make sure people have good health, and Paul was nominated by local British Heart Foundation workers.
He said: “I was so flattered to have be nominated and then to win the Heart Hero Award.
“It’s been a real pleasure to work and train with the young people of Xtrax, they have shown me respect and determination as well as improving their health.”
Xtrax manager Andrew Batsford said: “It’s so important that we all get active and feel positive, and the boxing sessions at Xtrax have proved to be a real success.
“The young people have taken the opportunity on offer, put on some boxing gloves, and given it their all.”
He added that the impact on the young people involved is huge.
“Their fitness levels are higher, and they feel more confident in their bodies.
“From a centre that offered no regular exercise, to offering a regular boxing programme, is great.”
Paul has given his time for free since he set up the project, and is now qualified as a Level Two boxing coach, and Level Three fitness instructor.
He is now looking for a sponsor for the boxing club, to help ensure that the success can continue.
Contact Xtrax on 01424 722524.