Hundreds of people sign petition to save youth scheme

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More than 800 people have signed a petition aimed at saving a long-running scheme which has helped thousands of youngsters across Derbyshire.

OzBox – which provides free fitness sessions to young people in a bid to keep them healthy and off the streets – will be axed on January 31 because of budget cuts.

The online petition to keep the scheme going had been signed by 830 people as the Derbyshire Times went to press.

Johnathan Scothern added: “When I first started OzBox I was really depressed as I got bullied through school and college. There were times I thought about ending my life. I’m now 23 and wouldn’t be where I am today without OzBox.”

OzBox has been funded by Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire County Council since 2003 and was supported by money from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) for the past three years. The BLF money runs out soon and police and council chiefs are unable to continue funding the scheme because of budget cuts.