Boxing charity is pleased as punch with £15,000 support

Published on: 30 Jan 2017

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A CHARITY which was set up by a Downend man to give young people a 'fighting chance' has been given a huge £15,000 boost.

Martin Bisp started Empire Fighting Chance with Jamie Sanigar in 2013 after witnessing a drug deal outside the Empire Boxing Club in St Paul's.

Since then the pair have made it their mission to identify youngsters on the verge of serious trouble, take them under their wing and offer stability and structure through coaching, education and personal support.

The £15,000 cash injection by the Morrisons Foundation, a charity launched by the supermarket, will help them reach out to many more young people.

Over the years the charity has worked closely with the police, schools, pupil referral units and Bristol City Council. It has also worked with the NHS as part of the drive to reduce obesity and run programmes specifically developed to help people with mental health issues.

Today, Empire Fighting Chance works with more than 200 young people a week across the city and the Morrisons Foundation’s money will help them develop their facilities and equipment to help even more youngsters.

The charity was backed for the award money by Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie, chair of the all-party group on boxing and a long-time backer of the sport and the positive impact it can have on the lives of young people who may otherwise get into trouble.

Charlotte, a trustee of the charity, said: "Empire Fighting chance is so inspiring and have shown by actions, not words, that young lives can be turned around by boxing. 

"As a teenager, boxing was vital to me in teaching me discipline, respect, and self-esteem, and it can do the same for so many young - and not so young - people."

Martin Bisp said: "We are extremely pleased to have been awarded this grant from the Morrisons Foundation. This will make a significant and lasting difference to those people in Bristol’s communities that are most in need."

David Scott, trustee of the Morrisons Foundation, said: "Empire Fighting Chance offers an effective alternative to traditional intervention and has a track record of helping to improve the lives of hard to reach young people. We are delighted to have awarded a £15,000 grant to support a programme which we're sure will make a lasting difference to young people in the area."

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