Bristol boxing charity celebrates 10 years of offering 'lifeline' to young people

  • Watch Verity Wishart's report.

A boxing club in Bristol is celebrating 10 years of helping young people through the sport.

Empire Fighting Chance in Easton supports more than 5,000 young people every year, aiming to help those facing challenging circumstances by offering life-changing services.

The charity uses non-contact boxing combined with psychology, therapy, and careers to help some of the most vulnerable in the city.

Martin Bisp CEO and Co-Founder at Empire Fighting Chance told ITV News West Country: "We tend to work with young people that come from often complex and chaotic home lives and we keep them in school, we get them out of gangs, we reduce violence and we get them jobs."

Funding is crucial to ensure youth provision such as this can continue.

Martin said: "The city has been very kind to us, we've had lots of support from businesses, national funders give us money, so we've been in a position where our journey has been fairly easy from a financial position because people want to support what we do.

The charity uses non-contact boxing combined with psychology, therapy and careers to help some of the most vulnerable in the city. Credit: ITV News

Martin says the hardest thing is the high demand for the service.

He explained: "We have a limited number of supply so we've got waiting lists, with more young people ringing and more young people ringing so our biggest problem is how we're going to meet that demand."

Chloe Bailey is one of those young people benefitting from the charity.

She said: "It's amazing, I think when I first came here I was struggling a lot in college, wasn't getting the best grades and counselling just wasn't really working for me.

"I came here, I was actually referred and did one-to-one sessions with my trainer Courtney and it was therapy without realising it.

"Just release your adrenaline, you're able to talk when it feels right, and you kind of build a relationship with your trainer that you feel like you can trust them and be open with them."

Zach El Semary is one of the budding young boxers who has trained at Empire Fighting Chance for a few years.

He said: "It's helped me a lot with my boxing, it's helped me build myself up a lot. I haven't regretted a single minute."