The project supports girls and young women aged 8 to 18 from Bristol’s deprived neighbourhoods. Faced with conditions toxic to their well being, they present to Empire Fighting Chance with a range of emotional issues, from anger and anxiety to depression and trauma. More often than not their distress is expressed in ways that can lead them into trouble rather than care and support – many have been excluded from school or involved in risky, anti-social and criminal behaviour.
Empire Fighting Chance have used the power of sport to create an enjoyable, non-stigmatising and holistic experience to transform how young people think and behave. The girls and young women benefit from one or more of the following:
Training with the Champions, a 20-week programme integrating non-contact boxing, psychological education and mentoring. Each week’s session features a structured programme of physical activities and simple, evidence-based messages to create healthier thinking. As trust develops, participants are supported to establish personal goals and to take positive steps towards achieving them;Boxing Therapy, with qualified therapists weaving in therapy while participants box to help them to manage their emotions and change negative ways of behaving;Education support integrated into boxing sessions, such as remedial Maths and English; HELLO FUTURE, a boxing and careers programme to support participants to progress into employment, education and further training.
Despite the chronic adversity that they face Empire Fighting Chance are able to report that the girls and young women who are involved int he programme are returning to school, exiting gangs, getting work, and feeling healthier and happier.
Photo credits: Empire Fighting Chance