In an effort to help young people in his local area and after reading of a proposed initiative in his local paper Andrew Reynolds approached a local Martial Arts organisation to help develop an idea that would take young people who were from a disadvantaged background and give them a structured, stable, self-development programme to engage them in steering clear of trouble by teaching them discipline, respect and self-worth through martial arts.
The Martial Arts organisation, Precision Martial Arts, was founded by World Kickboxing Champion Paul Bernard. Master Bernard developed a unique black belt scholarship scheme run jointly by and Hart and Rushmoor Youth Inclusion and Support Panel (YISP).
YISP, is part of the Wessex Youth Offending Team and works directly with children who have problems at home and at school and play truant, or have come to the notice of the police. Working with young people aged 8 to 13-year-olds, they are referred to YISP by children’s services, teachers, community safety teams, police and even parents who are keen to stop them turning to crime.
Self-made millionaire Andrew Reynolds pledged £3,000 to start the programme in 2009, with the promise to continue to fund the three-to-five year black belt scholarship scheme.
Andrew Reynolds said, ‘When I first learnt of the scholarship scheme from the local newspaper I immediately wanted to become involved. This project offers a great foundation of stability for these young people and is a project I am very proud to be supporting.’
With the help of YISP, Master Bernard worked with a group of young people aged 12-14 and identified 3 lads who showed the commitment to progress with the Black Belt Scholarship scheme.
Master Bernard said, “We are very grateful to Mr Reynolds for his vision and support for this project. His generous donation will help these three boys continue through their black belt scholarship,”
“The scheme is proof that martial arts can help children with challenging behaviours turn their lives around. The three YISP boys I am coaching have come along in leaps and bounds. They arrived with attitude, but within six weeks were attentive and keen to learn. ‘
“All three have gained confidence, control and discipline. They have learned to walk away from trouble. The boys are determined to finish the black belt scholarship course at Precision, and thanks to Andrew Reynolds, they are well on the way to achieving that.”
Mr. Reynolds has been impressed by the progress made by the three lads – Ross Clynes, aged 14, Aiden Nisbet, 13, and 12-year-old Paul Linsell – who started the course in autumn 2009.
Parents and case workers have seen positive changes in the youngsters since they began the course. All three have learned to control their anger at home and at school.