A YOUTH initiative is proud as punch after winning Active Schools Fife's Changing Lives Award.

Boxing project Punch Beyond has performed above expectations and helped dozens of youngsters across Fife since its inception last year.

Pupils from all of Dunfermline's high schools, as well as Inverkeithing High, have taken part in the multi-agency scheme.

Punch Beyond was designed to teach young people new skills, channel their energies into a healthy pursuit and help them make better life choices.

Kids have been given the chance to train like a pro for eight weeks 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, the project was rolled out across Dunfermline's secondaries with intakes of up to 16 youngsters.

Constable Scott Morgan, one of the partner leads, was delighted the initiative was honoured with the award last week.

He told Press Sport: "This award from Active Schools Fife was recognising local initiatives that were using sport to change the lives of young people.

"They recognised the combination of the educational inputs from specialist agencies where we have learning material and difficult conversations with young people about violence and conflict, alcohol, and stuff like that, coupled with the boxing; which is the wellbeing and fitness side of it.

"It's brilliant to be recognised and to win this award.

"What's important for us is when we speak to partners at Barnardo's, they would ordinarily go into schools and speak to large numbers at a time, but with Punch Beyond, they can come and speak to a smaller group of kids and have better interaction with them. It makes the conversation easier and it helps the young people open up a bit more.

"The kids are able to build a relationship over the course of eight weeks and that's massive. It's not just a week and it's done. It's a sustained period of time. As the sessions go on, they become more engaged and digest the information better."

Funding support was provided by Carnegie Dunfermline Trust and Fife Council's City of Dunfermline area committee to get it off the ground.

There is also plans of expanding into Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly next year.

Gordon Brennan, owner of Trench Boxing, added: "I say it all the time but just being there when the kids open up, and they stand up and say I've learned this, and now I'm managing to control my aggression at home, I'm managing to speak to my mum, I'm speaking to my teachers, I'm taking part in PE – just them telling you that, that's the whole point of the project.

"That was the first pilot where people were standing up and telling us this. It happens in every single intake after two or three weeks, so it works.

"It's great, I love it and it's amazing to be part of it.

"I think their plan is to branch out to Cowdenbeath and Glenrothes boxing clubs as well.

"Boxing Scotland's also involved and they're talking about taking it through Glasgow way, so it's a knock-on effect."