The Flintshire martial arts project helping young people develop new skills
A Flintshire martial arts project is helping young people develop new skills.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin visited Ysgol Treffynnon in Holywell on 7 July to learn more about how money seized from criminals is helping fund the Success for Life project.
This initiative uses martial arts to teach important life skills to children in schools, and the visit enabled the PCC to meet the team involved, to see how the funding has been invested and how the project engages with young people.
Cobra Life Family Martial Arts Academy is based in Shotton, Flintshire and founder Gavin Eastham launched the Success for Life Children’s Educational and Development Programme as a 12-week course that uses martial arts to teach important life skills to school children in their own school environment.
The project received £2,500 from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Your Community, Your Choice fund to help pay for course materials and an instructor.
The Your Community, Your Choice initiative, also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and North Wales Police, is in its ninth year.
During this time, more than £400,000 has been handed out to deserving causes and much of it has been recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using money seized from offenders, with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Success for Life programme focuses on developing one of the following life skills per week: Self Confidence, Goal Setting, Self-Discipline, Concentration, Fairness, Responsibility, Conflict Avoidance, Teamwork, Kindness, Health, Positive Attitude, and Trustworthiness.
The programme was developed by instructors, teachers and character education experts.
The classes are supported at home by parents and children participating together, completing child friendly, life skills checklists to reinforce the skills learnt in class.
Once the children have demonstrated the required effort and conduct, in and out of their martial arts classes, they are rewarded with certificates decorated with their favourite martial arts hero. Each session is delivered in the child’s school by a fully qualified and committed martial arts instructor.
The class at Ysgol Treffynnon included a practical bolt-on session, implementing skills gathered during theory sessions and enhancing them through martial practice.
Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales said: “I am delighted see funding from my Your Community, Your Choice initiative go towards helping teach young people new and important life skills while being active and engaging with their peers.”
“A crucial element of my Police and Crime Plan is supporting and protecting children.”
“One of the best ways of doing this is by giving them the skills and insight they need to become independent and engaged members of society, with the confidence and self-discipline that martial arts teaches.”
“The work from Cobra Life I saw at Ysgol Treffynnon was a great demonstration of how we can work together across policing, education and sport to make a difference for our young people in North Wales.”
Gavin Eastham, Founder and Director, Cobra Life Family Martial Arts Academy, said: “I launched my business while I was homeless. I headed to the library, researched books on entrepreneurship and I drew up a business plan.”
“I wanted to focus my business on martial arts, but I wanted to focus on the philosophies at the root of accomplished martial arts – skills such as improving confidence, concentration and self-discipline. That’s how I came up with Success for Life.”
“I now work closely with local schools and youth organisations across the region, teaching these programmes and keep parents/carers regularly informed about pupils’ progress.”
“I found the courage and determination to do all of this because of martial arts and what it has done for me since I took it up when I was a child.”
”My mission is pass on the same level of courage and determination to our children. To instil the same values and beliefs as they move into adulthood. I am grateful to the Commissioner and PACT for the funding that has enabled me to expand this programme.”
Mr Rob Chesters, Lead Teacher for Care, Support and Guidance, Ysgol Treffynnon, said the children at Ysgol Treffynnon “have really enjoyed the course and it has given them skills they can use elsewhere in life. It has also given them resilience to use in academic settings as well as in the community.”
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