Selsey gym to host free self-defence classes after young women fall victim to assaults

A gym in Selsey is offering free self-defence classes after a number of violent incidents in the town.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 5:38 pm
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 8:04 pm

Thrive Selsey decided to step in after 'many visitors' expressed their fears to travel alone on foot.

It follows reports of a knife-point assault on a young woman last week and a group attack on a teenage girl just weeks before.

"There is a general unsettled feeling within the village, with thoughts of 'what if it were me or someone I loved?' said Rachel Byrne, from Thrive Selsey in Ellis Square.

Thrive Selsey decided to step in after 'many visitors' expressed their fears to travel alone on foot

"Since these events there have been many of our visitors expressing their fears to travel alone on foot around Selsey.

"There is a general unsettled feeling within the village, with thoughts of 'what if it were me or someone I loved?'"

Rachel, whose dad, Kevin, owns the gym, said the business has 'always promoted empowerment and feeling strong and confident', adding: "This comes in many shapes and forms for people.

"Whilst knife crime, attacks, bullying and harassment needs to be treated and stopped at its root cause, we know many people have and would benefit from self-defence workshops.

Kevin Byrne opened the Thrive Selsey wellness centre last year. Photo: Steve Robards SR2008254

"If it helps the people within the community walk a little more confidently and feel safer in their hometown then we want to help.

"We have enlisted the help of the charity run by the owners of Thrive Selsey as well as local self defence experts. Through this collected effort, Thrive Selsey will be hosting free self-defence workshops for the community of Selsey for both adults and teens/children."

The gym will be announcing dates for these workshops across its social media sites 'very soon'.

Rachel continued: "Having grown up and lived in Selsey as a child and young teen, I feel moved to help the community in any way I can during this time of unsettlement.

"Self-defence may not be the solution to the problem but if it helps anyone walk a little taller and to leave the house on their own — as everyone deserves to feel safe to do — then we're in."

This newspaper has approached Sussex Police for further information on the recent assaults in Selsey but the force has so far been unable to comment.