Samsons Academy is not just a gym. They are a charity, a community support network, and an infrastructural organisation based in Bedford. They aim to break the cycle of young people who are not in education, employment or training by teaching them the disciplines of boxing and martial arts.
Over the last 5 years, Samsons Academy have become a central point in changing the way Bedford looks at gang crime and youth criminality. They are a support network for people with enduring mental health and those who have either been groomed or faced cuckooing and county-lines. They aim to break the cycle of young people who are not in education, employment or training by teaching them the disciplines of boxing and martial arts.
Samsons Academy offers their members ‘the chance of change’, an ethos that has been a lifeline to many in Bedford, an area of social, urban deprivation that is vulnerable to gang and knife crime. Through their boxing, Muay Thai, yoga, pilates and kickboxing classes, they promote physical fitness and community cohesion across barriers of age, gender, race, sexual orientation and religion. They also work to improve their members’ mental wellbeing, offering an on-site counselling service with registered therapists and councillors. Their academy is one of the UK's first gyms registered with the Charity Commission and works directly with young people and vulnerable adults to improve the lives of those that might be socially excluded.
Over lockdown the academy worked with Bedford’s young LGBT+ community through a six-week pilot scheme. They liaised with therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers and boxing coaches to provide support throughout the lockdown period to ensure their participants had a safe space and someone they could speak to in times of difficulty.
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