A locally based mixed martial arts club has launched a new initiative to give the area’s teenagers ‘something productive’ to do with their time at the weekend.
New Era MMA are opening up their gym, based at Kitchen Hill, free of charge to teenagers in a bid to address some of the problems which all too often give the area and teenagers generally a bad press.
In a Facebook post last week Michael Doyle, who runs the gym, said: “As you well know the Craigavon, Lurgan and Portadown area are well known for underage drinking at the weekends
“So I have decided to open my gym up to 13-17 year olds FREE OF CHARGE, to try and encourage the young ones to do something productive with their time and this gets them of the streets.
“Training will contain all aspects of mixed martial arts.
“I will be opening it up on Saturday from 6pm-10pm so feel free to drop in and give it a go. boys and girls welcomed.
“I would highly recommend parents into encouraging their children to attend.
“It’s time to get the kids off the streets, so please feel free to share to get the message out. Thanks, Team New Era.”
The local MMA champion explained to the ‘MAIL’: “I wanted to get the young people off the street, to give them something to do at the weekends instead of hanging about the streets and getting into mischief or hanging out with the wrong crowds and doing things they shouldn’t be doing.
“There’s nothing really open for children to do, especially on Saturday, everything is shut down like the leisure centres and football pitches, so from 6pm to 10pm we are hoping to get them in to learn a martial art and be disciplined.
“Mixed martial arts offers respect, discipline, honour, keeps you fit, makes you stronger and will given them a lot more confidence.
“That’s not confidence in a bad way but a more respectful way. It’s just a better way of life to live, it’s the martial arts way.
“There’s a lot more to do in life than going out drinking and partying. Enjoy life and have discipline and respect.”