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Zoe Smith backs British Weight Lifting’s initiative with West Yorkshire Police 

GB International weightlifter and multi-Commonwealth Games medallist, Zoe Smith, is the latest BWL athlete to add her support to Calderdale’s Early Intervention programme. Run by West Yorkshire Police, the partnership with local communities aims to reduce crime particularly involving young people and create safer more inviting neighbourhoods. 

Zoe Smith backs British Weight Lifting’s initiative with West Yorkshire Police 

BWL recently hosted a training session at Halifax Police Station which provided young people, with an educational but fun session around the introduction and benefits of weightlifting. Headed up by BWL Olympic International Coach, Eddie Halstead and supported by Zoe Smith, the session covered the basic techniques aligned to the sport and helped showcase the real health and social benefits to young people of being more active, fitter, healthier and stronger. 

Currently ranked in the World’s top 10 and delighted to add her weight to the programme, Zoe Smith said Opportunities like this highlight how important sport can be in the fight against many health and social challenges. It can play an important role in the battle to address many of our day to day issues, such as an ageing society, community integration, childhood obesity and helping reduccrime and anti-social behaviour. 

As part of its social strategy, British Weight Lifting works hard to provide opportunities for all young people, especially those from isolated or disadvantaged communities and has developed a number of key relationships with stakeholders, such as West Yorkshire Police. 

Zoe added: “This is not about offering youngsters a second chance but highlighting that sport can offer a realistic pathway.  Through my experiences, I know it can offer an alternative option to entering the criminal justice system that is both enjoyable and rewarding, as well as providing “social skills” that can be beneficial and help produce productive, fruitful and happy lives.” 

PC Chris Madden, of the Calderdale Early Intervention Team said: “We are very grateful for the session as it is essential that we break down barriers with young people to gain their trust and confidence so that we can then work with them over a period of time.? We run a structured programme for young people and deliver educational inputs to them together with fun activities like this.?  

One of the aims of our work is to inspire young people to make a difference to their lives and the lives of others by offering a range of positive activitiesWe feel that this partnership has significantly contributed to our overall aim which is to reduce both offending and re-offending, reduce missing episodes and to make the community of Calderdale a safer and better place to live”. 

As the National Governing Body for Olympic Lifting and Para-Powerlifting, British Weight Lifting is fully committed to helping make local communities fitter, healthier and stronger.  As an organisation it has worked extremely hard over the last five years to be more accessible to a much broader and more diverse audience and provide opportunities to engage with all individuals at whatever age, sex or ability. 

With no barriers to entry, it is a sport that can now truly offer a pathway for those with Olympic ambitions or those who just want to be a little stronger and more active. Currently BWL offers opportunities for lifters of all ages, whilst 37% of BWL’s membership is engaging with individuals from deprived post code areas and 50% of its active lifters are female. 


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