Empire Fighting Chance Charity

As a member of Bristol Boxing Gym you are helping support our registered charity Empire Fighting Chance.

Empire Fighting Chance helps children who are failing at school and in danger of drifting into a life of unemployment or even crime, and helps them turn their lives around.  We run programmes covering fitness and health, remedial work on numeracy and literacy, and preparation for employment, as well as providing mentoring and counselling for young people who often have very troubled backgrounds.  

At any one time we work with around 200 children aged 9 to 18.  Our programmes aim to instil discipline, self control, and respect, whilst building self-confidence, life skills, and health and fitness. We get them back into education, or work ready, and steer them away from crime and alcohol or drug abuse.

The “street credibility” that the gym enjoys means that it can reach the toughest of young people, but it is not really about boxing, the physical work is non-contact, using punch bags, skipping and technique to promote physical well-being.

The seeds of the current community programme were sown in 2006 when the founders Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar spotted two teenagers involved in dealing drugs in a local park:

“We wandered over and asked them to come inside the gym to try something different they engaged in the training session and asked to comeback again. We decided to privately fund an after schools boxing session for young people in the community to reduce anti- social behaviour. Alongside the boxing lessons we started to offer mentoring and personal development sessions.

The weekly session grew into daily ones to meet demand and within 6 weeks 49 young people were coming to the gym to train on a daily basis. As word of mouth spread about our work we were approached by the local authority who offered to fund the programme.

As our reputation grew schools began asking us to work with pupils who were on the verge of exclusion and passive learners. The success we had with these groups led to us working with pupil referral units and Avon and Somerset Police. This has now developed into the largest non-contact boxing schools engagement programme in the UK.

We were then were approached by the NHS who had heard about our successes and this has led to us working in partnership with them tackling Mental Health and Obesity. Someone asked us what we wanted to do; we said to give people a fighting chance to succeed which led us to create Empire Fighting Chance Charity in 2013.”

Jamie Sanigar – Director/Co Founder Empire Fighting Chance 

For more details please visit our site Empire Fighting Chance