A former Probation Service worker has set up a gym to be a positive meeting point for young people.
Zahir Akbar, 42, opened Warrior Breed Boxing and Fitness in Bradford Road, Dewsbury, earlier this year.
He wants to use sport as a way of developing young peoples’ social interaction and confidence, and has stacked up around 50 class attendees since opening.
Zahirsaid: “My initial intention was to bring people into a functional way of training.
“It’s about building up their confidence and self-esteem. There’s a very big link, and if it’s done in the right way it can work really well.
“You need to be fighting all the time with anything you want to achieve.”
Not just a regular gym, Zahir has combined his 12 to 13 years of experience working one-to-one with ex-offenders and his love for sport to add a personal touch.
He said:“It’s about liking people, working with people and being responsive to their needs.”
“I still get people coming in and talking about their issues.
“There’s quite a few kids here and I’ve seen them grow in confidence.”
Zahir thinks that the workouts can especially benefit those with family problems or mental health issues.
Practically, it helps them in two main ways, Zahir said. Firstly, it gives those who join something to plan their week around and look forward to.
Secondly, the combative sports on offer have set rules and boundaries, so those taking part know what is expected of them.