Helping Hands charity will continue in memory of murdered co-founder Bradley Welsh

Helping Hands teaches football and boxing to kids from working class communities; right, Bradley Welsh was one of the charitys founders
Helping Hands teaches football and boxing to kids from working class communities; right, Bradley Welsh was one of the charitys founders
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The charity co-founded by Bradley Welsh will continue its free summer football programme in memory of the boxer.

Welsh, 48, died after being shot on the steps of his basement apartment on Chester Street in Edinburgh on April 17.

As well as acting in hit film T2 Trainspotting, the boxing gym boss was co-founder of Helping Hands, a charity that runs football and boxing events during the holidays in housing schemes across the city.

READ MORE: Irvine Welsh pays heartfelt tribute on day of friend Bradley Welsh's funeral

After discussions with Bradley’s family, the charity has decided to continue with their plans for this year’s sessions – plans that Welsh was key to putting together.

Helping Hands’ extensive summer programme is open to all children aged between eight and 16, regardless of parents’ ability to pay.

The football initiative will run across six sites including Muirhouse, Wester Hailes, Leith, Moredun, Gracemount, Portobello and

Boxing lessons will be held twice a week from July 2 on a Tuesday and Thursday from 5.30-6.30pm at the Holyrood Boxing Gym.

Jim Slaven, who founded Helping Hands with Bradley Welsh in 2014, said: “All our sessions are free, open to all children aged eight to 16 years old, irrespective of their parents’ ability to pay.

“No pre-registration is required. Just turn up and register on site. All participants get free water, fruits and healthy snacks. All sessions are led by qualified coaches and all our Helping Hands volunteers are Disclosure Scotland compliant.

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Mr Slaven added: “Last year Helping Hands provided free boxing fitness taster sessions which Brad delivered in communities across Edinburgh. Since the beginning of this year we have been working on a plan to transition these sessions into the gymnasium environment, allowing kids to experience a proper boxing gym atmosphere while taking part in non-contact, structured coaching sessions.”

A key element of what Helping Hands aims to achieve is a bottom up approach of working class communities taking control of their own destiny and owning the public spaces in their areas.

Project leaders have often stated that they aim to build a positive legacy through solidarity not charity. They also aim to challenge inequalities by creating opportunities for those in economically challenged areas of the Capital.

The project has built upon their previous success by securing a partnership with Edinburgh Leisure in order to further their commitment to guaranteeing access to public parks for kids in local communities.

READ MORE: A tribute in pictures to Edinburgh boxer and Trainspotting 2 star

Mr Slaven said: “From the outset Helping Hands have been committed to working in partnership to widen opportunities for kids most in need in Edinburgh. We will continue to engage positively with other organisations who share our ethos. The Hanlon Stevenson Foundation fits the bill perfectly.”

Brad McKay, who grew up in Muirhouse and who plays for Inverness Caley Thistle, said: “I think it is brilliant that the local community is all coming together in order to support this programme.”