Fighting for: Ben

Today we share the story of another one of the thousands of young people we fight for every year – and how Empire Fighting Chance has transformed their life. Meet Ben*.

Today we share the story of another one of the thousands of young people we fight for every year – and how Empire Fighting Chance has transformed their life. 

Meet Ben*.

Ben’s mum referred him to Empire Fighting Chance as she was concerned about his increasing aggression at home, excessive drinking and his history of trauma, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. He was not in education, employment or training, and had been referred to other organisations that work with vulnerable young people, but had unfortunately made limited progress in those settings.

The journey

When he first came to the gym, Ben began 1:1 non-contact boxing sessions with Coach Courtney, who says: “When Ben first came in, he lacked confidence and social skills. He would struggle to hold conversations and interact with new people around the gym. However, he engaged in the boxing straight away and found a passion for it instantly”.

During his time doing boxing sessions at Empire, he found a passion for fitness and started to potentially see himself having a career in this field. Over time, we recognised that Ben could benefit from our Boxing & Careers programme, with his interest in working in fitness. That’s when we paired him with Careers Coach Chris, to support him with skills and employment opportunities, while continuing to work on his personal development and boxing.

Ben would say that he lacked and ambition and felt like he didn’t know what direction he wanted to go in. He struggled to push himself out of his comfort zone and couldn’t see himself in any workplace, so the focus of his sessions became the personal development point, ‘Growth Mindset’.

Ben later enrolled on the Gym Instructor Level 1 course with us at the gym. Ben excelled in this course and used the growth mindset he’d developed to push his boundaries. He completed the course by being assessed while he ran a session with an individual that he didn’t know – something he would never have done before he came to Empire Fighting Chance.

The impact

Since coming to Empire, Ben has blown us away, achieving everything his referral recommended for him: increased confidence, employability support and improved anger management.

His confidence increased hugely, with him now being able to hold a conversation while maintaining eye contact, which he’d struggled to do before. His previous coach, Courtney, could see the difference in Ben: “I now see a much more confident young person when he comes into the gym. He is happy to speak to all the coaches and can have a laugh and joke which is amazing to see after where he started from”.

After completing a Gym Instructor Level 1 course, an entry level qualification required for gyms or leisure centres, he has now signed up to the Level 2 course and has found something he is passionate about.

Ben feels like he’s made great strides with dealing with his anger. His coaches helped him understand that is normal to feel angry, but it’s important to think about how we display this anger and channel it constructively.

Coach Chris reflected on Ben’s journey: “It has been to really enjoyable to work with Ben. He has shown real commitment to the programme and should be proud of pushing himself out of his comfort zone to gain qualifications that will help him pursue a career in health and fitness. I look forward to following Ben’s journey in reaching his career goals.”

*Name changed to protect identity. Image used for illustrative purposes only and not connected to story.


To find out more about Empire Fighting Chance’s Boxing & Careers programme, click here.

To refer a young person to Empire Fighting Chance, email [email protected]