AN autistic teenager came off his medication and overcame his mental health issues after taking up boxing.

Harvey Webster has autism, Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD and joined Scrappers Gym to cope with his excess energy.

He and his family have seen a startling progress since he started training in May.

The 14-year-old from Rodbourne said: “It has increased my self-esteem because it’s something I’m good at.

“When I box I feel focused, which is something I find really difficult, so that makes me feel good about myself.

“I now know how to box, and I am calmer so I’m able to do more things.

“I feel a lot happier and more like everyone else now. I am mixing more with people and have met some nice people.

“ I have told my friends about the gym and they have come along and sparred with me, which has helped our friendships.”

Scrappers Gym is a project run by the charity Swindon Children’s Scrapstore, providing free boxing sessions for disadvantaged people.

The youngster stopped taking his medication shortly after joining the gym.

He said: “They made me feel different.

"I ate less when I was on medication because the tablets affected my appetite, my weight wasn’t good but now I eat much more, and my weight is normal.

“I feel a lot happier and more like everyone else now.”

Harvey has received support from his coach Dean Howells and his mother Clare Netter.

“When Harvey first mentioned boxing, I have to admit to being slightly anxious,” said Clare. “No mother wants to see their child get hurt but I’ve realised now that there is much more to it and I trust Scrappers completely to keep Harvey safe.

“Harvey has made huge progress since starting boxing. His ADHD means he has a lot of excess energy, which wasn’t always used in the best way. Now he’s able to visit the gym and put that energy to good use.

“He is so much calmer after a session at the gym and is able to continue with his day without the need for medication.

“His social skills are progressing too, his autism spectrum disorder makes social situations tricky but having people around him with the same interest has helped massively.”

The mum-of-four added: “I’m so pleased he has a hobby now. It’s something I want for all my children as I believe if they have something to do and focus on, they are less likely to wander the streets.”

Scrappers Gym has been selected as a finalist in a competition to win £100,000 for its project. To cast your vote, visit