Luton gym owner offers free martial arts sessions to teenagers
The Mixed Martial Arts sessions are on every Sunday
The owner of a gym in Luton is offering free MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training sessions to young teenagers in the town.
Hamza Shah, owner of Ultimate Athlete MMA Academy, on Kingsway, started the project in June to encourage teenagers aged 14 to 19 to get off the streets and learn a new skill.
The free martial arts sessions are on every Sunday from 11am till 12noon.
Highlighting his initiative in response this summer to the Luton News' Bin Your Blade campaign, he said: "I am hoping this programme will divert youths away from carrying knives and having confidence to resolve situations without resorting to violence with dire consequences.
"We want to get young people off the streets and into our gym, where they can use their energy and learn combat sports.
"We thought it would be good place for them to come in and burn off some energy.
"We started doing the sessions in June and there has been a good response, we have had children, teenagers and young adults coming in.
"We just want people to know we are and everyone is welcome. There will be no judgement here.
"We are a not-for-profit organisation and we want to help the community, that's why we are doing this. We want to do our bit to help people.
"If you want to try the sport come down and join in, or even if you just want to come down to the gym you can, everyone is welcome.
"Between the end of July and August, our grappling coach organised free grappling sessions for 16-19 year olds.
"They were popular and that was something he wanted to do to help."
> The Luton News and Dunstable Gazette launched its anti-knife crime initiative Bin Your Blade in June following the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Humza Hussain in Luton which shocked the community.
By publicising the awful consequences of carrying a knife we want to make a difference and encourage those who may be vulnerable to resist exploitation and to avoid making dangerous choices.
If you’ve been affected by knife crime please share your story with us, or if you’re trying to make a difference in the community get in touch. Email [email protected]