Lewisham ladies learn self-defence for free

A former British and European jiu jitsu champion is instructing free self-defence classes in Lewisham.

Each Tuesday, Jacquie Epelle will be at Bellingham Leisure Centre in Lewisham, training women over the age of 18 in an initiative partnered with social enterprise groups Better and Saving Souls.

Kerry Phillips, the founder of Saving Souls, has highlighted the emotional awareness and confidence that can be gained in taking these classes.

Matthew Houghton, the Community Sports Manager for Greenwich Leisure Limited, concurs with Mr Phillips and says: “There’s unfortunately been some instances in the last few years in this part of the world where women have ended up being victims of some really horrific crimes.

“If there’s an opportunity where they can feel a bit more confident with being out and about then I think it’s a positive.”

Better, operated by Greenwich Leisure Limited, have just launched their For The Girls programme in Lewisham, encouraging ladies to attend their women-led and women-only exercise activities at five different centres across Lewisham.

Houghton added: “We’re trying to create a space where women can come and exercise and interact with other women, potentially from the same, or a different, background.

“We’ve identified that there’s a need particularly for women of certain backgrounds in the borough that may not be able to access sport and physical activity because they might have religious or other restrictions to potentially stop them from exercising on a regular basis.”

According to Houghton, the programme has the potential to continue indefinitely.

“We’ll look to, hopefully over time, evolve and progress to make it an improved and enhanced offer to make sure that anyone in the borough that wants to be physically active has the opportunity to do so.

“It might not be the same in a year or 18 months time; there might be more activities to make it accessible but this’ll be an ongoing thing for the women of the local area.”

All For The Girls activities, which includes self-defence, zumba, aqua aerobics and more can be booked through the Better UK app or website.

Mr Phillips also confirmed that Saving Souls self-defence classes at Bellingham Leisure Centre will continue this year.

Image courtesy of better.org.uk

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