"It was an amazing honour.”
The former gang member, who turned his life around after discovering self discipline, Self Development, Building Resilience, Achieving Goals all whilst in prison in Jamaica. He has gone on to be a well recognised film maker, author and an inspiration to young people. He was invited to Butetown to share his journey in and out of 'Road Life' after serving 8 years in Jamaican Prison courtesy of Xcellerate Youth Project By BE.Xcellence. Butetown, is one of Cardiff’s most diverse districts, in Cardiff.
LLANRUMNEY PHOENIX BOXING CLUB is one of the few places inspiring young people by offering them a place where they can showcase their talents in and out of the boxing ring.
It is an amazing hub where they use this transformative tool of boxing to educate and empower the young people in the community, so they can in turn empower themselves to be active inspirational role models in society.
The club punches well above its weight and by doing that has provided a safe space for children, young people and adults to use the gym, get fit and improve their mental well-being as well as make new friends.
Llanrumney Phoenix Boxing Club opened in 2008 and has already had four Welsh champions from the club, with 1 of those champions going on to become a professional boxer.
The club is at the heart of the community and has strong links with local organisations. They work with many agencies to reach wider audiences and encourage people to get involved.
“We went there to inspire these young people but like always left amazed and being inspired ourselves”
The club has just started a collaboration with South Wales Police to bring young people off the street to reduce levels of knife crime and ASB within their area. They work with local schools and help children at risk of exclusion to gain discipline and self-confidence through boxing and support the local behaviour team when they are struggling with challenging children.
When we met these young minds it was difficult to believe them miss-behaving outside of this environment, they were focused, disciplined, engaging, respectful and really deep in their understanding of the subject matter which was trauma. But some of these children I was told were near expulsion. All of this tells me that if you engage with young people in the right way, offer them a sense of purpose, demonstrate how team work benefits all you are actually preparing them to bring strong, resilient, emotionally intelligent leaders in their own right.
They are currently running a project with Cardiff and the Vale Health Board and Sport Cardiff, working with patients with dementia and mental health, for both patients at the hospital and those living in the community. They also run training and employment sessions and surgeries, really going beyond their sporting remit to serve the needs of the community.
They are big advocates of females taking part in boxing. With their women’s only arm Boxing Pretty encouraging and supporting many young girls and women through boxing. Mums are encouraged to bring their children with them if they struggle with childcare – there are no barriers to stop mums from training. The class works on empowering women and girls and through sport.
All this is hugely partly down to Gemma Price, someone who as I have learned more about here journey has demonstrated that trauma can be used in a positive way and can actually heal.
Today, they see over 120 people a night putting their gloves on, with the biggest class being the 10-16-year old age groups.
The club is at the very heart of the community.