A FORMER soldier has decided to kick start his life on civvy street with a new venture.
In a bid to keep youngsters off the street and help keep them occupied, Kevin Blewitt is offering the chance to learn a new skill.
Kevin, from Shiney Row, is part of the Kazen Kai North East group which teaches karate across the region.
He has been practising the martial art for most of his life and after returning from his time in the army he is now a full time instructor.
And after receiving a £9,000 grant from the National Lottery to start a new club, all he needs now is more people to sign up.
Kevin said: “I have been doing karate all my life from the age of seven and currently I train with a local policeman who runs clubs in the area.
“I think it’s important to help give young people something to do and I also like to help kids so it worked out really well.
“It is a great opportunity to give the young people the chance to learn some discipline, etiquette and it helps teach them more of a lifestyle.
“It also teaches respect for their friends and for other people they meet.”
The Kazen Kai group was first established in 1989 by Eddie Gillespie and since then the club has produced a number of national and international champions.
Participants can achieve different belt colours as they progress, ranging from red to black, and for each stage there is an exam that must be passed.
Kevin said: “We want as many kids to get involved and hopefully some of them will carry on doing it their whole lives like me.
“We applied for the Lottery grant to help us get all the mats we need as well as the safety equipment.
“There is also money available to pay for some trips away for the kids.”
The club meets in the Holy Family Church Hall, Glanmore Road, every Wednesday and Saturday and for more information and times call Kevin Blewitt on 07939011255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.