Empire Fighting Chance have been awarded £16,000 to help young people from deprived backgrounds in South Wales turn their lives around. The grant will pay for 150 young people to complete the charity’s programme of non-contact boxing and intensive, tailored support focused on education, employability and wellbeing.
Run from boxing gyms in Torfaen, Merthyr Tydfil and Barry, the programme uses punch bags, skipping and a focus on technique, which improves discipline and physical and mental health. Participants also receive regular mentoring, numeracy and literacy classes, counselling and help preparing for the job market.
Despite significant progress over recent years, there are still parts of South Wales that suffer from some of the worst poverty in the UK. Young people face many issues that limit life chances, most notably low academic achievement, poor mental health and high unemployment. Despite the huge challenges they face, few services exist to support them.
Results from the charity’s pilot programme in Bristol point to success. An impressive 87% of the pilot’s participants progressed into employment, education or further training; while 92% reported that they felt more confident in themselves after completing the programme.
One young person suffering from very low self-esteem, depression and anxiety had this to say about the programme:
Getting involved has changed my life, I now have a job, my own property and life is looking good. I feel more confident in pursuing my career and I no longer have any problems with my rent.
South Wales Freemasons visited Empire Fighting Chance to see their work in action
Martin Bisp, CEO of Empire Fighting Chance is confident that the new project will be a success. “We’re very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their help in making this project possible. Together we’ll transform the lives of many vulnerable young people.”
South Wales Freemason, Alan Gardner said:
“We’re very pleased to be able to help Empire Fighting Chance. This is a charity that does what it says on the tin – it helps some of our most deprived young people to have a fighting chance of making something of their lives.”