Boxing is at the heart of everything we do.
Our heritage in the sport spans more than five decades running an inner-city boxing gym, creating many champions along the way. We’ve taken boxing’s unique qualities and all our experience to build a supportive and inspiring environment in which young people can grow. Our non-contact boxing-based approach offers an enjoyable experience that young people can be proud of, attracting them to our programmes and ensuring they keep turning up.
For us, boxing isn't just a sport, it's a way of life. We're passionate about using boxing to help young people to achieve their full potential and lead happy, healthy lives. Here's why it works.
Boxing holds a unique street credibility that can effectively engage and motivate young people to show up week after week. This sport has the power to break down negative stigmas associated with traditional support systems for young people. Rather than seeking out a service or professional, young people can engage in boxing and receive natural support without feeling ashamed for needing help.
Entering a boxing gym for the first time can be a very intimidating experience, but we make sure young people enter into a space where they feel welcomed, safe, supported and cared for. We are consistently present for young people when others cannot be. Like that of a good family, our support is unconditional, and we are always in their corner.
Young people will only listen to us if we have earned their trust. This can be challenging as their relationships with adults are often characterised by inconsistency, neglect, and violence. Young people gain support from someone they can relate to and feel comfortable talking with – a young boxing coach or boxing therapist kitted out in tracksuit bottoms and an ‘Empire hoodie’. Our staff use boxing to build rapport with young people and encourage them to relax, drop their guard and open up to us.
Boxing is a physically demanding sport that provides significant health benefits for young people. Our sessions increase levels of physical activity and address health issues such as obesity. Exercise releases 'feel-good' chemicals that create happier moods and reduce the risk of depression. Boxing also helps manage anger issues by providing a physical release in a safe, controlled environment.
At Empire, we know that building self-esteem, confidence, and resilience is key to helping young people make positive changes in their lives. Our boxing sessions provide young people with an opportunity to develop their skills and abilities, improving their sense of self-worth. We've seen time and time again how boxing helps young people who start their programme with their head down to finish it standing tall.
The support that we seamlessly weave into boxing is informed by the study of the mind and behaviour. Guided by our psychologist, we offer young people evidence-based psychological tools and techniques so that they can improve how they think and behave. We bring the theory to life by using boxing exercises and metaphors and work with young people to apply it to their individual lives.
Our boxing sessions teach young people essential life skills such as perseverance, discipline, respect, and pride. These skills are transferable outside the ring into education and employment, helping young people build successful lives beyond Empire.