I find it hard to believe, but I’ve been teaching personal safety and self defence for 20 years now.

Back in 1997, myself and my brother, David Bell, went on a course in London and qualified as instructors with The National Federation for Personal Safety. David brought his experience of bar stewarding (bouncing) and I brought my military and Close Protection (bodyguarding) experience.

We soon developed our own style of self defence training based on hard hitting techniques, realistic scenarios and absolutely no flowery moves.

We provided personal safety courses and workshops as a not-for-profit social enterprise called “Security And Safety” with our main client base being Women’s Aid groups and Domestic Violence forums throughout the United Kingdom as well as Rape Crisis Scotland and Victim Support Scotland.

To enhance the not-for-profit nature of our business, we set about becoming a charity and achieved this in 2013. Under our new name, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety, we moved to our new premises in the former Barony St. John church hall building on Princes Street in Ardrossan and last year saw the official opening of the Centre by Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. (See my Official Opening – the return of William Wallace post.)

So, to mark 20 years in the personal safety business, we held a small photo ceremony during one of our bi-annual Instructor Training Days in the Barony St. John Centre.

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A tally of the number of people we have trained over the years comes to nearly 4,300 people, many of whom have been victims of violence.

We’ve trained all over the UK from Wick to London and we’ve also ran specific courses for children in various schools and nurseries throughout Scotland. But I have to say, my proudest achievement is developing a personal safety course specifically for the blind and visually impaired, which we have just completed.

And although we are clear that we provide personal safety and self defence training, what we actually provide is self confidence and self esteem.

Here’s to the next 20 years. 😀

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