HIGH SCHOOL kids from Dunfermline will be able to climb into the ring with professional boxers as part of a new initiative to keep them out of trouble.

Police officers in the town are promoting Punch Beyond as a way of teaching youngsters new skills, channel their energies into a healthy pursuit and help them make better life choices.

It's a joint venture that will give the kids eight weeks to train like a pro at Trench Boxing Gym in Touch, as well as the chance to spar with international fighters and coaches in Glasgow.

After a successful six-week pilot scheme at St Columba's, it's expanding and will now be rolled out to the other secondary schools in Dunfermline too.

Constable Scott Morgan, Police Scotland's school engagement officer in Dunfermline, said: "This is a great opportunity for young people to learn skills and techniques of a disciplined sport, whilst gaining insight into key life lessons that will help their decision-making in the future.

"They will learn what negative influence alcohol and drugs have in conflict situations, as well as the consequences of offending behaviour and how to channel any aggression they may have.

"From our initial pilot at St Columba’s, we have seen new friendships form and a large proportion of the group are now attending evening sessions at Trench Boxing Gym in their free time.

"We view this as a great opportunity for young people to engage with police in a positive manner and remove any barriers."

As well as Trench and Police Scotland, the venture involves Active Schools, Youth Justice and Boxing Scotland and is designed to educate young people on the influences that cause conflict and how to rationalise these situations to make better choices.

The sessions in Dunfermline will be led by professional boxing coach Gordon Brennan, who has devised an eight-week programme that takes the participants through the skills and techniques of boxing, while instilling the discipline of the sport.

There will also be workshops for S2 and S3 pupils to educate them on the four core values of Boxing Scotland – courage, determination, respect and passion.

Punch Beyond will continue at St Columba's, Woodmill pupils can get involved from today (Friday) and it will start at Dunfermline and Queen Anne high schools at the start of 2020.

St Columba's pupil Brandon Lafferty said: "Being part of Punch Beyond showed me how far I could push myself physically. It was great seeing others in the group enjoying themselves and working hard to reach their limits.

"I would recommend this opportunity to other pupils as it allows you to build confidence and be more social."

Each enrolled student is provided with a starter kit, including training t-shirt, hand straps, gloves, water bottle and learning evaluation pack.

Boxing Scotland will also provide each intake with a special training session at their High Performance Centre in Glasgow, with youngsters given the chance to train alongside international coaches and boxers, and quiz them about the commitment and sacrifice it takes to become an elite athlete.

Gordon, the owner of the Trench Boxing Gym, said: "Being involved in this project is a massive honour and it's been great working with the youngsters and giving them a safe place to express themselves, while channelling their energy in a positive boxing class scenario.

"The feedback from the first group and my personal experience is that boxing helps boost your mood, relieves stress, builds self-control and respect for yourself and others.

"Training in this environment also brings a strong bond within the group, which helps to form lasting friendships.

"I hope these young people commit to giving 100 per cent and reap the benefits of learning new skills, while training in conditions similar to a professional boxer."

PC Morgan added: "We would like to thank all our lead partners for their contribution in setting up this initiative and for the funding support provided by Carnegie Dunfermline Trust and Fife Council’s City of Dunfermline area committee."