Young people will get a kick out of summer workshop in Preston

Rachel in action at the Redkite Club in Preston
Rachel in action at the Redkite Club in Preston
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Youngsters kicking their heels during the summer break are being offered the chance to learn skills which could keep them safe.

Youngsters kicking their heels during the summer break are being offered the chance to learn skills which could keep them safe.

Preston Thai boxing coach Rachel Joyner has set up a school holiday workshop in conjunction with Lancashire Police to teach children basic self-defence techniques together with tips on how to avoid trouble.

"In today's society, with the problems surrounding youth violence and gang culture, kids can end up in a predicament that they couldn't have anticipated," said Rachel, who runs the Redkite Muaythai club in Fylde Road.

"It's all about critical thinking, about making the right choices, picking the right friends to hang around with and knowing what to do if things happen.

"Hopefully the sessions we are putting on with the police will be positive, informative and also good fun."

The half-day workshops on August 20 will be split into two age groups - six to 10-year-olds in the morning and 11 to 17 in the afternoon.

Police officers have said they will do age-appropriate first aid training sessions, while the Thai/kick-boxing group will teach breakaway techniques to escape confrontation.

Former gang member Stephen Mellor, who set up Preston's Yooof Zone in Lune Street after serving time in prison for violence, will give a talk to the older age group about how he turned his life around.

"Topics will include consequential thinking, victim awareness and joint enterprise - how everyone in a group can be held resonsible for what one person does," explained Rachel.

"The way things are going with gangs and knives, we believe it is totally relevant.

"Children don't have to be members of a gang. If you can get in with a sport, or a team, or a hobby, where there are people to offer guidance and help, that can be a massive help.

"At Redkite we get an influx of parents bringing their children in when they are about to step up to high school, worrried whether they will be able to handle themselves with the older kids.

"I am a parent and I understand where they are coming from, especially with all that they see on the news these days.

"They ask us to toughen them up. But that's not what we are about. We just try and give them a positive experience, while enjoying themselves and learning a skill. It is mostly about feeling confident and not feeling worried about bullying."

Cost of the course is (6-10 years) £10 for three hours and (11-17) £15 for four hours. The Redkite gym is above the Ferret music venue in Fylde Road.