The council is hoping to turn young people away from crime by backing a new boxing initiative.

Box Up Crime, Redbridge – which has been awarded £500,000 by Redbridge Council – aims to turn youngsters’ lives around through boxing, educational and mentoring training.

Its work has helped reduce serious youth violence in Barking and Dagenham by 25 per cent and pupils getting into trouble at school by 28 per cent in recent years.

Their new partnership with Redbridge Council was launched on Friday (June 7) with council leader Cllr Jas Athwal donning boxing gloves in the ring to highlight the charity’s work.

Speaking at the launch, Stephen Addison, founder of Box Up Crime, said: “It’s not about just setting up a boxing club, it’s about creating an environment where young people feel safe and can aspire to be what they want to be – that’s what we want to do here in Redbridge.

“Box Up Crime has a clear message, we’re trying to beat up crime because crime has stolen dreams from our young people.”

Professional light-heavyweight boxer Anthony Yarde also attended the event and described Box Up’s founder as being “devoted and an inspiration to young people”.

Cllr Jas Athwal said: “We really need to congratulate Box Up for their amazing work in guiding youngsters out of a life of crime and into a life filled with opportunity.

“We are committed to giving our young people every possible chance to lead safe and full lives by providing the support they need to reach their potential. I’m really proud to be teaming up with this fantastic organisation which will help protect our children and young people.”

Cllr Elaine Norman, cabinet member for children and young people said: “All London boroughs have seen the devastating effects knife crime and gang culture can have on all sections of the community.

“It’s our priority as a council to tackle crime and early prevention is one of the best tools we can have to steer at risk youngsters from a dangerous path.

“I’m really pleased that we have this opportunity to bring the innovative work of Box Up to Redbridge so we can effectively support young people out of crime.”