Topic: [The Guardian] Knocking down barriers through boxing – photo essay  (Read 457 times)

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Knocking down barriers through boxing – photo essay

A gym in Bristol has become a vital mental health service for young people with a combination of boxing, psychological support and personal development. Before the lockdown, Alexander Turner spoke to and photographed the coaches and mentors behind the project – and the young people whose lives have been transformed

Founded by Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar in 2006, Empire Fighting Chance (EFC) has transformed the Empire Boxing gym – a respected Bristol institution since the 1960s – into a vital mental health service operating in the centre of the city. With world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury frequently advocating the value of boxing and fitness towards his own mental health, the connection with boxing and emotional health has never been stronger.

EFC predominantly works with people aged eight to 25 who experience significant challenges in their lives, including those excluded from school and involved in antisocial behaviour – almost always as a result of mental health issues. With a unique programme of support, EFC provides an invaluable resource to more than 4,000 people each year in one of the UK’s most deprived areas. It offers young people who would probably not access traditional forms of therapy a variety of bespoke services designed to support complicated home lives, blighted by poverty, deprivation and inadequate housing.

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